Na­ture’s re­venge

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“ ‘Apoca­lypto’ is more than a high-ve­loc­ity Hol­ly­wood adrenalin rush. It’s also, ar­guably, the ul­ti­mate re­ac­tionary movie, a sav­age re­bel­lion against moder­nity that holds up tech­nol­ogy and ur­ban­ity as poi­sonous to so­ci­ety. Af­ter warm­ing his au­di­ence to the good­na­tured rural vil­lagers, [di­rec­tor Mel] Gib­son re­verses this trick and paints their ur­ban coun­ter­parts as ghoul­ish and deca­dent, al­most in­hu­man.

“The cap­tives’ jour­ney into the city is filled with night­mar­ish sights — slave mar­kets, sickly chil­dren, chalk cov­ered la­bor­ers in a stone quarry look­ing like hol­loweyed ghosts — and capped off with a ter­ri­fy­ing scene of rit­ual hu­man sac­ri­fice. Gib­son films it all like an an­cient macabre freak show, im­pli­cat­ing the sin-filled city, with its suf­fer­ing masses, de­vi­ous lead­ers and en­slav­ing in­ven­tions, in the des­e­cra­tion of the sim­ple agrar­ian life he presents at the be­gin­ning.

“The film sees moder­nity as an af­front not only to man, but to na­ture, and it too has its re­venge. [. . .] This is a movie that fights bloody tooth by bloody nail for peace­ful, tra­di­tion­al­ist val­ues.”

Peter Su­d­er­man, writ­ing on “Go­ing Na­tive,” Dec. 8 in Na­tional Re­view On­line at www.na­tion­al­re­view.com

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