“‘What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?'” — alleged Mel Gibson remark following last night’s Apocalypto screening at Austin’s Fantasticfest. The film, which Harry Knowles saw twice yesterday, is about big bad Mayans (aggressive, militaristic) conquering and mauling a smaller and simpler grass-hut society.
So there’s the critique of the U.S. and the Bushies — an idea to hold onto — but the thing that seemed to have really impressed everyone last night are the B-movie action-driven aspects.
“After the second screening, I have to say it plays even better,” Knowles has written. “The themes about how the industrial needs of a civilization, even a primitive one, lay the groundwork for moral, societal and physical decay really begin to come out. Then there’s just the pure B-movie pulp of an action film. I heard at least five people afterwards say that it was a Mayan Western.
Louis Black, editor of the Austin Chronicle, was heard to say, many times, that “it’s like a Terrence Malick film with a B-movie plot!” — and if you know Louis, you know how heartfelt and excited that was. One of the reasons Louis Black and I are friends and have known each other for the last 30 years is that we love High Art and Low Art. And most of all we love it when the two converge. This is a B-movie with the soul of a great artist and the production values of the best of Hollywood.”