Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” is just one giant misstep of a fable. A movie about man’s greedy nature and the tenderness of the psyche, this film doesn’t stop as it lulls the viewer to sleep.
Seriously, it’s quite a snooze fest.
Set in the 16th century, the movie concerns the quest for El Dorado. Pizarro and his men set out to find the legendary city of gold but get sidetracked by extreme conditions...like mud.
The climate change is killing the men’s slaves, so they can’t live in semi-opulence anymore. The women don’t get toted around in their little mini-thrones and the men have to forgo horseback riding for a little bit.
Pizarro splits the men up to better the opportunity for finding the gold...oh, and spreading the word of Jesus.
Honestly, the men are so selfish and cruel that it’s a wonder that they call themselves Christians...but maybe that’s the point of the movie.
Anyway, we are told that only the diary of a monk has survived this misguided conquest and we are being told the story written in his journal.
One group of men set out on the river, making large rafts of wood. The man in charge is named Don Pedro de Ursua and his second in command is Aguirre (hey, that’s part of the title...maybe he’ll be important!). We soon realize that Aguirre is just a power hunger psychopath with a lust for gold...lovely.
A few mutinies and several REM cycles later and the movie still hasn’t ended.
To be fair, it’s not a long movie...clocking in at a little over a hour and a half. It’s not a great task to watch, but the experimental/new age feel that oozes from the film is ripe for sleeping. I cannot stress this enough...the movie. is. boring.
The men are superstitious and wary of the Indians, who pick them off ninja-style. They think that making a black man run in front of them will scare off the Indians...maybe they’re right.
The mutiny leads to a new form of society, which is two parts glorified dictatorship and one part extreme anarchy.
And then....we sped the rest of our time on a river. Aguirre’s madness grows and my patience was tested.
This movie is made by Werner Herzog, the director who made the remake of “Nosferatu” and the similarities between the two works are remarkable: the need for pain of some kind, the moodiness, and the confounded boredom of the piece.
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" was uncomfortable because of the level of animal cruelty in it. You can tell that Herzog just wanted his movie made...it's really unnecessary.
Every country is pompous enough to think that everyone speaks their language. Americans are the worst of this, but it’s a little odd hearing Spanish men speaking German...nothing wrong with it, just odd.
Why is this movie classic? I will never know.
My best advice is just to stay clear of it, you can find everything in this movie elsewhere. Plus, I think you’ll find it much more entertaining to dust the house or vacuum...be productive and avoid this movie.
Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones