- 2 hr 20 min
In the historical adventure Apocalypto, a young Mayan man escapes after being abducted and marked for ritual sacrifice by the society's leaders. On the run through the jungle, the man faces horrendous obstacles between himself and his family. The film is set in the early sixteenth century. A young indigenous Mexican man named Jaguar Paw is captured by a band of invaders. He and some of his tribesmen are taken to a Mayan city, where they are to be executed as human sacrifices. Their attempts to escape and survive are the bloody focus of the movie. The film was produced, co-written, and directed by actor Mel Gibson. Unlike in his other auteurial projects, Gibson does not star in Apocalypto. Instead, he hired a cast of Native American and Mexican indigenous actors. Upon its release, the film itself was overshadowed by Gibson's off-screen antics. Just a few months before the film's release, Gibson was arrested for driving under the influence. During the arrest, he was recorded going off on a profane anti-Semitic rant. The controversy seemed to affect the film's reception. Apocalypto was criticized for its inaccurate historical portrayal of Mayan civilization. In particular, critics pointed out that unlike the Aztecs, Mayans were enthusiastic practitioners of human sacrifice. Apocalypto also met criticism for its heavy reliance on graphic violence. The same criticism had been leveled at Gibson's Bible story The Passion of the Christ. Apocalypto, however, was praised by other film makers who fetishize violence, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese.