Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, the Wrath of God] (1972)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Aguirre, the Wrath of God</strong>] (1972)

(Kanopy streaming, October 2018) You never quite know what you’re going to get when Werner Herzog is behind the camera, and Aguirre, the Wrath of God is as good an illustration of that as any. Something that, at first glance, looks like a historical jungle adventure eventually becomes an ill-fated tragedy, with death striking at any moment and the lead character diving deeper and deeper in madness. The film may have pacing issues, but the final sequence is unforgettable. Klaus Kinski authentically looks insane and dangerous in the lead role, while Herzog lets the landscape do about half the cinematographer’s job. It’s not a jolly film, and watching it often feels like being on an express train to hell with no stops. But it does have a few things running for it, especially once past the tedious exposition and on to the final act. I’m not sure I’m going to put Aguirre anywhere near my list of favourite movies, but it is an experience.

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