Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
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`Aguirre: The Wrath of God' is the culmination of their talents and arguably their best work. Ostensibly about the early 16th Century Peruvian expedition for a lost city of gold by the Spanish explorer Pizarro, the actual subject matter is about power and what some people will do to achieve it.
Staggeringly hypnotic and lyrical, this film ranks in my top five films of all time for the simple reason that it is incredibly dreamlike, yet ironically, the most realistic evocation of a historical period that has ever been portrayed on film.
Opening with a sweeping pan over a winding Incan trail, a team of Spanish conquistadors, Indian allies and native American and African slaves, beasts of burden and heavy artillery march down a steep incline. This is 1972 and there is no CGI, no trickery, Herzog actually forced his actors to lug a cannon around the Andes (and much more besides). Almost immediately a viewer will notice the menacing power of nature and the isolation of the expedition party. This isolation is what Aguirre calculatingly plays upon.
After the impressive opening, Pizarro's search for the city of gold (the Cibola of Peru) almost immediately runs into trouble. Uncertain of which direction to strike out for next, he divides his party into two and hands the leadership of the other party to a nobleman and assigns Aguirre as his lieutenant.Read more ›
"Aguirre, The Wrath of God" is intense. Herzog has created a film that feels unbearably realistic as he records his cast wandering around dazed and lost, sometimes looking directly at the camera in total despair. The soundtrack music, some haunting electronic soundscapes by Popol Vuh is kept to a minimum, and Herzog accentuates the tension by concentrating on the sinister quietness of the river and hazardous jungle. Kinski is sensational as the loathsome Aguirre, and as a metaphor for another notorious figure that embraced megalomania, the character takes on an even greater significance.
Shot by Herzog's regular cameraman, Thomas Mauch, the film is signposted with some extraordinary images - the opening where the conquistadors descend a mist shrouded mountain, a character who hallucinates to seeing a ship marooned upon a tall tree, and the final scene, where Aguirre is alone on his raft and over run with tiny monkeys is both astonishing and mocking...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every bit as good as it was when I first saw it in the theaters four decades ago.Published 2 months ago by Norman Triplett
My expectations going in to this film were pretty high given its critical acclaim and reputation. Grizzly Man is the only other Herzog film I have seen and it happens to be my... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charles Camp
great movie about SPAIN looking for the golden city. but getting lost , fighting off attacks, the group turning on them self. a middle -age -- APOCALYPSE NOWPublished 5 months ago by joe hall
Even if you hate this film after viewing, it will haunt you for a long time.Published 8 months ago by Kenton Daniels
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