(out of 5)

Continuing his lifelong dream to make movies with people speaking dead languages, Mel Gibson ventures into the South American jungles to tell the tale of an ancient native civilization on the eve of western conquest. A peaceful Mayan village is raided and decimated by its kingdom’s warriors, the strongest men bound up and taken to be killed by priests looking to extend the glory of their powerful empire through sacrifices to their gods. One young man named Jaguar Paw manages at first through fate and eventually through skill to survive the harshest treatment by his captors, his heart beating merely to get himself back home and rescue his pregnant wife and toddler son from the deep chasm in which he hid them when the invaders arrived on the scene. Exciting and extensively detailed (though deeper investigation into historical accuracy will reveal a few bummers), the film offers no compromise in aesthetic pleasures but is rather short on character depth; you’ll be entertained but your heart won’t be moved except for the odd jolt from seeing such gory treatment of human bodies. Gibson, who co-wrote, co-produced and directed, continues to show himself an expert filmmaker with a dedication to giving audiences a trip outside their everyday experience, plus makes Mayans a hell of a lot more interesting than he made the old JC, but nothing here matches up to the effect of Braveheart’s wit or passion in battle.

USA, 2006

Directed by

Screenplay by Mel Gibson,

Cinematography by

Produced by , Mel Gibson,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Cast Tags:  ,, , , ,, , , , , , ,, , , , ,, ,, ,, , , , , , , , , , , ,, , ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Makeup (Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano)
Best Sound Editing (Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar)
Best Sound Mixing (Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Fernando Camara)

Golden Globe Award Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film

British Academy Award Nomination
Best Film not in the English Language

Chicago Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Foreign Language Film



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