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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the true masterworks of the German New Wave
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, is Herzog's ultimate jungle adventure, continuing on from the trancelike and hypnotic Fata Morgana and Signs of Life (which aren't necessarily jungle films, but do have a similar approach to the strange and the exotic), whilst simultaneously prefiguring the more traditional narratives of Fitzcaralldo and Cobra Verde. It also has certain...
Published on 20 Mar 2005 by Jonathan James Romley

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Film on a Poor DVD
I first saw Aguirre: Wrath of God in August 2005. I had heard a lot of good things about it and I was looking forward to watching it as I had an interest in that period of history. I must admit that at first I was disappointed, and after having watched the film I left it on the shelf until earlier this year when I decided to give it another go.
The second time round...
Published on 5 Aug 2008 by D. Evans


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Herzog's Best, 31 Dec 2008
By 
Mr. S. A. Brown "yentilsale1" (Kilmarnock, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Aguirre was the first Werner Herzog film I had the pleasure of seeing and, to the extent that it awakened my interest in one of my favourite directors, it's always held a place in my heart. Nevertheless, the superb reputation of the film is slightly unmerited in my opinion and there are better Herzog films both for the diehard fan and those who want to sample the director for the first time.

For those not knowing what to expect, the film sees a group of Spanish explorers venture off into the Amazonian jungle in search of Eldorado. Along the way a mutiny occurs in which the demented Aguirre (Klaus Kinski - a notoriously short tempered and intense German actor, if this name means nothing to you) takes control of the group. The remainder of the film is a slow descent into madness as the futility of the mission becomes apparent, but Aguirre stubbornly continues to drive everyone further and further into the jungle/disaster.

From this summary you may be given the impression of an action film, but whilst there are some action scenes, the film maintains a rather odd, hypnotic and unsettling atmosphere throughout. Dialogue is sparse and the pace is exceptionally slow, with long drawn out journey scenes and Kinski pacing around the screen like a madman.

All of this is worth viewing of course, but in terms of depth I still find the film a little lacking. There have been thousands of interpretations offered over the years which identify the film as anything from a metaphor for society, to an examination of the folly of the Conquistadores, but ultimately the main appeal of Aguirre, in my opinion at least, is watching Kinski's portrayal of madness and not any complex social commentary or satire which could be read into the plot. There's a well documented phenomenon relating to the interpretation of art which states that those works of art which articulate the least amount of information are those which have the most complex, intricate and incredible interpretations attached to them and that's certainly the case with Aguirre.

If you've never seen Kinski's intense portrayal of madness before then Aguirre will be a treat, but this is done equally well in some of Kinski and Herzog's other collaborations and in some of these (Fitzcarraldo and Woyzeck in particular) enough depth is afforded to the plot to ensure that Kinski is not the sole attraction. Having watched this film a number of times since I first saw it, I still can't say the same about Aguirre.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art House Blinder, 8 Nov 2002
This review is from: Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Advance notice: You'll need to be a hard core film nut for this one. Superficially, it's a very tough hour and a half to get through - it's in German, there's not much dialogue, it's roughly edited, there's no real story and most of the actors don't really act.

However, this is genuine, German Art-House Cinema, and most of the above goes with the territory. Art house buffs are like hi-fi buffs: in the world of haute-cinema, less is most definitely more. So approach Aguirre as if it were one of those twenty grand stereos with only an on/off switch and a volume knob. It might not look like much, but boy it delivers.

Werner Herzog has a gift for a haunting scene, and they don't come much spookier than Aguirre's opener, a snaking line of conquistadors winding down the side of a steaming, dripping Andean cliff, complete with horses, canons and sedan chairs. As is Herzog's wont, they filmed this on location; no sneaky studio shots or plastic artillery here, thank you very much. Real canons. Mind you, this time the cast got off lightly: in Fitzcarraldo, Herzog's other South American epic, it was a full sized paddle steamer that got the up and over treatment.

The descent into the abyss is symbolic, too - the film is all about the Fall of Man - in the biblical sense - and the falling apart of a man in the psychiatric one. The vibe is definitely somewhere between Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, with a dash of King Lear. In this aspect, the film is totally carried by the electric performance of Klaus Kinki, whose portrayal of Aguirre is the essence of the swaggering unhinged.

Where Fitzcarraldo goes on for nearly three hours before ending without warning, Aguirre pulls off the same stunt in half the time - but as narrative satisfaction is not high on Herzog's list of cinematic objectives, you can't really mark the film down for this. Well, maybe a bit: Herzog is so uninterested in action that he frequently welches on it altogether; you frequently see a arrow fly, and cut to a new scene with a man lying dead with an arrow in his neck. This is difficult to get used to, and it plays with the continuity of the film: from time to time the editing is so disjointed it is difficult to piece together cause and effect. This struck me as a mark of slight laziness: odd in a director who is so unlazy as to make a film as painstakingly re-enacted as this.

Definitely a rewarding night in, but those who like a good romantic comedy might want to pass.

Olly Buxton
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift, 2 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had seen this film back in the 70's and sent it as a gift to a nephew-in-law. Hopefully he enjoyed it.
The way the film is paced, almost in slow motion is hypnotic and Klaus Kinski is as crazy as ever.
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too plain sailing (or rafting in this case), 30 Sep 2002
This review is from: Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Okay. Here it is: I didn't like this movie. But I'm afraid that maybe I've missed the point since everyone else seems to think it's fantastic.
I understand that it's a portrayal of madness, but Aguirre is a bad guy from the beginning and his rebelliousness is blatent, not tense or cunning. I don't really see any notable progression in his condition, and it certainly doesn't appear to be caused by the poor conditions. More importantly, I don't see it as a tragedy because he isn't a good man that's been warped by greed. His men are supposed to be craving gold, but you wouldn't know since they have the lacklustre task of sitting quietly on the edge of a raft for most of the film. I didn't find myself having to ponder any moral dilemmas and felt quite detached from the story.
I liked the pace, and the acting, and thought the whole atmosphere was quite authentic, but overall I found it more like a peaceful cultural documentary, not some great psychological insight.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six stars!, 13 April 2010
By 
Maxxx "Elpenor" (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aguirre, Wrath Of God [1972] (DVD)
Great movie, served by a most inspired Kinski...Get lost in Peru as a Conquistador. An highly hypnotic voyage!
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars English subs spoil it!, 9 Mar 2000
By 
piotr@dircon.co.uk (At home in mellow Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
A sultry piece in the hot heart of America: gold, lust and religion, plus the odd woman (Klaus Kinsky?) Natasha K. comes out with good acting credits.Watch the limping Aguirre, Zorn des Gottes, his hump as well as his limp move according to moods. Did I see an Indian wearing a a watch, evidenced by the suntanned strip! Action is slow and then boils, simmers and explodes in cruelty. Aguirre keeps his promise: God's will and his be done: all or no-one will reach the end. Aguirre has it all: he hamms-is it in his eyes? his twitching mouth? (sign of a looney), the cigarillo? the odd murder?{friend and foe beware}. Those under his command are not safe. But this film definitely made him, firstly in Germany, and then because of the linguistic talents of his daughter and when he gets the hump with Clint in another film, he twitches his way into the Top Ten Earners for several years. Finally, if you enjoy the film, which does drag thanks to the beasties,try his strange photomontage with his family - in the nude. It is not erotic, but he even twitches through that one! I'm not telling you the plot or its climax, it takes too much away from the threatening storm clouds, the heat and the boiling-over into a great send off on his little raft, white water...not after Klaus has been on it!It suffers a colour change after a few arrows.
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scruffy, vague & picturesque, 17 Dec 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Totnes, Devon, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
The subtext about the madness of colonialism and missionaries is a bit obvious. There is quite a lot of physical feel and atmosphere, nice little moments as other reviewers have said. But it almost feels like it was improvised on the spot. And it's extremely unrealistic that the troop follow Aguirre to their deaths without one or two of them trying to kill him. My overall impression of the film is that it doesn't really go anywhere. Not a lot happens except that conditions get worse and worse until everyone except the crazy dictator has died. So what? No way does it deserve 5 stars against more finely crafted movies.
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Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972]
Aguirre, Wrath Of God [DVD] [1972] by Werner Herzog (DVD - 2000)
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