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Apocalypto Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… a totally entertaining and pointless blast of the grossest, nuttiest stuff … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie is so impressionistic, it obfuscates any sense of history. We expect at least a hint at the causes of the Mayan Empire's demise, but instead we get Mesoamerican Rambo.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    There's so much dark material jammed into this complicated, conflicted, challenging, and charismatic man's (Gibson) own noggin that sometimes he knows not, I think, what he's done. Here, behold, Mel Gibson has made the weirdest, most violent movie of the year.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    By the end I felt sure it was the most obsessively, graphically violent film I'd ever seen, but equally sure that Apocalypto is a visionary work with its own wild integrity. And absolutely, positively convinced that seeing it once is enough for one lifetime.

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    The guy knows how to make a heart-pounding movie; he just happens to be a cinematic sadist.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Apocalypto reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

The bloody end of a civilization. Not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this relentlessly brutal, subtitled action film isn't for kids. It features extreme and repetitive violence, including suggestions of rape (screaming women who are dragged off screen). But the greatest viciousness is directed against male bodies: Men are tortured, beaten, cut, kicked, thrown to the ground, speared, shot with arrows, beheaded, and cut open while they're still alive (their cut-out hearts appear in close-up). A man's throat is cut in front of his son, heads are set on sticks as totems, and a jaguar attacks a man and rips him to pieces on screen. A pregnant woman and her young child are left stranded in a dangerous situation, leading to some very tense moments; other children are left to fend for themselves when their parents are taken captive, and a young girl with smallpox (her face marked with open sores) is shown crying next to her mother's corpse. A man's alleged impotence is the source of some humor. One subtitled use of "f--k."

  • Families can talk about the role of violence in the movie. Is it appropriate for the story that's being told? Which parts, if any, are gratuitous? How accurate do you think it is? Director Mel Gibson has become known for making very violent movies -- why do you think a filmmaker might be drawn to that kind of material? How about the subtitles? Why do you think Gibson chose to film the movie in Yucatec? Families can also talk about the relationships between the different groups of Mayans in the movie. Why does one group think the other is suitable for labor and sacrifice? How does the film represent Mayan religious rituals? How does Jaguar Paw's devotion to his family make him a familiar and also mythic hero?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The noble hero must answer brutal, relentless villains with his own form of brutality.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Gory violence is explicit and almost non-stop, in some form or another. An early hunting scene sets the tone when a tapir is abruptly killed and cut open. Bloody assaults (rape is implied in some cases); weapons include spears, knives, arrows, poison darts, spiked traps, and other tools. Men are chased, hit, kicked, knifed, beaten, speared, cut open (their hearts are cut out and held up in ritual sacrifice while they're still alive), and beheaded (this is also graphic, with heads and bodies falling down a long staircase with loud thuds). Frequent shots of injured, bloody bodies and faces (including one particularly gruesome scene in which an exposed brain spurts blood). A man's throat is cut in front of his horrified son, and a jaguar rips a man to pieces before being brutally stabbed to death. Frequent deadly peril.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Naked or near-naked bodies throughout (16th-century tribal communities); jokey references to one man's impotence (he's given tapir "balls" to eat and a salve that makes his genitals burn, and his wife appears with her mouth also "burning," indicating off-screen fellatio).

  • language false3

    Language: In subtitles: One "f--ked," plus "damn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue