13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Oustanding piece of wierd cinema,
This review is from: El Topo  [DVD] (DVD)
I have had the great good fortune to see this movie in a local cinema, and I have to say I don't think I've ever spent so long with my mouth hanging open.
Almost all reviewers need to make some comparison to other works just to try and describe El Topo, and so here's my take: imagine a Western co-written by Lewis Carroll and the Monty Python team, co-directed by Terry Gilliam, Sergio Leone and Ingmar Bergman, and with design by Salvador Dali and Heironymous Bosch. Then further imagine that all of the above sat down beforehand and took very generous quantities of suspect powders and tablets, and there you have it.
There is a story, inasmuch as there is a strand of activity, although even that falters at times. But there is as little to aide one as to meaning as there is in the blankest of poetry.
There are plenty of awful clichés, some very rough camera work and editing, and great dollops of atrocious acting, but there are also inspired moments, amazing performances and some of the most awesome cinematic images I have ever seen.
And a lot of it is very funny. Like the 'hero' being run over by a dam-burst of the physically disabled and deformed pouring from a hole in a mountain. It's like that, you see. From the very first scene of the typically black-clad gunfighter riding across the desert, when you realise that he has a completely naked small boy riding pillion, you'll find massacre victims spitted on 30-foot poles, Buddhist gunslingers who tragically believe themselves beyond defeat, women dubbed with gruff men's voices, gay sheriffs, and even a village priest whose sermons involve getting the congregation to play Russian Roulette.
As to spirituality, there is lots said in review (and by the director)about the film's inherent orientalism, but I have to say, dead Buddhists aside, that there seems to be a lot more of the Bible in here than anything else, although if it IS an allegory, I'm stuck as to what it might be. You will notice on the way past, however, references to John the Baptist, Jesus, Daniel and the Lion, Samson, and loads more besides.
Everyone should see this movie before they die. Just make sure you view it sober.