Review by Andrea Tundo of “Apocalypto” by Mel Gibson

Title: Apocalypto

Direction: Mel Gibson

Rating: 3 and a half stars

 Article written by Andrea Tundo

After a few minutes I was there, I had become a man of the fifth century who lives by hunting and livestock,  farming in Mexico, in the forest, on the outskirts of the Maya empire.

I was Jaguar’s Paw, who after a grueling hunt for a tapir with his friends and family returns to the village, splits the meat, greets his wife and son, strives to make jokes and is at peace at home.This is the first part of the film (which actually splits into two) illustrative where we see a serene atmosphere, a daily life that you would want to last forever, but soon this quiet will be broken by some hunters of men who will destroy the village, and drag the prisoners to the center of the empire, here we come into contact with the Maya, advanced and rich civilization able to calculate the exact moment of an eclipse but at the same time very cruel.


I waited the whole time (to be satisfied only the last few minutes) the coming of the “conquistadors”. Before watching the film I thought it should have been an integral part of the movie. The film, in my opinion, had all the credentials to be a blockbuster with budget 40 million dollars and more than 700 extras that could last even an hour longer and concentrate on the barbarism of the European conquerors, but Gibson did not want to do it, why?

Besides, Gibson allows himself a license because  the Maja empire will  actually fall half a century before the arrival of the Europeans, why show it for so little time, for pure beauty?
No this in the cinema does not exist, there must always be an explanation.

To answer these questions we must explain the symbolism that is behind  Gibson’s film that otherwise at first might seem like a simple adventure movie.


Mel Gibson

First of all, the Maya empire symbolizes today’s United States of America.  A society that drowns in its own opulence, march, aestheticizing, indolent, violent and finally also blasphemous because, just as the Maya considered themselves the men of Destiny, the closest to their god Kukulkan, therefore the Bush administration’s geopolitical insanity launched holy and infinite wars, exported constitutional models and imposed his idea of democracy through the aerial bombardments.
It is therefore clear what were the plans of Gibson that we remember as a political activist. In his films, especially in Braveheart, he wanted to show a certain confidence in his country and in the possibilities to improve it,  trust that now, in this film has disappeared. His only goal now is to defend his family that I remember being composed of 8 children to bring it to a “new beginning”.

In addition to this, the film gives us an incredible representation of what was certainly one of the most prosperous of pre-Columbian civilizations, the meticulous attention to detail none of the characters were the same each other dressed up with clothes, hairstyles, ornaments, trinkets, scars and different wounds, as well as weapons and the use of colors. In fact, in the movie you can see men and women with different colors, blue for human sacrifice, green and red to distinguish the different social statuses.


Speaking for a moment on the direction of Mel Gibson we can say that he respected the canons of the Hollywood mainstream, wonderful mass sequences accompanied by slap panoramas that clasped on powerful close-ups of the paintings, tattooed, scarred men of this film.

Apocalypto has been nominated for three Oscars Prizes, although none have won.


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