Aguirre, the Wrath of God

December 4, 2009
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I really came into this film blind, not knowing what to expect other than it was considered to be one of the greatest films ever made by many of the renowned film critics of the film community. At first, I was really doubtful of that, expecting it to be some overrated, although still enjoyable, foreign film. After finishing it, however, I can safely say it's going in my top five films of all-time. Let me explain...

The plot revolves around the titular Lope de Aguirre who, after disobeying orders from his Spanish superiors, menacingly controls his search group to look for El Dorado - the city of gold. Once you know what their prized destination is, though, you know this venture through the lush jungles of South America can only end tragically. Klaus Kinski, who portrays Aguirre in the film, does an amazing performance as the manipulative, menacing, and ever cruel Aguirre. The titular character also makes for a brilliant villain, his presence being felt by his words and body language. The reason behind the "wrath of God" title is because, halfway through the movie, Aguirre is convinced he is a deathly angel of God and that nay who question him, his cause, or his actions are fools whose death would be a convenience. The man definitely knows how to make an impact.

The film is also shot amazingly beautifully, with the shots showing how dark, beautiful, large and disorientating the jungles of the land are. The best scene that comes to mind is the opening shot, showing the thousands of men descending down the mountain side. Epic and beautiful.

Our characters are also all very interesting, with the tie between all of them being their amorality. Even the Christian monk, who comes on the journey to spread the word of God, eventually corrupts into the cruelty, taking part in the violence and social folly/decay of his group. The only moral man who seems to be present is Pedro de Ursua, the original leader of the search group who, very quickly, loses all control thanks to Aguirre. Aguirre's manipulation is sensed even further, as he never lets himself become the "official" leader of the group in order to escape the blame/fault one usually finds in the 'top leader'. Instead, our villainous Aguirre prefers to stick to the shadows of second-in-command, manipulating the will of the official leader and proclaiming their future as a holy, powerful, and wealthy dynasty.

I don't want to give much away, but the ending to the film is simply amazing. The movie very easily could have delved into your typical "everyone dies" ending, as one might think from the doomed search for El Dorado. However, the film ends with this feeling of being led into destruction while showing that, despite this, there is still some strange, mentally insane, and bizarre sense of hope in Aguirre's character.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God is an adventure film unlike any other, mixing in interesting and creative aspects into a nearly perfect movie.

10/10 - Best of the Best

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