Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes - Aguirre, The Wrath Of God

"That man is a head taller than me. That may change." Aguirre

"That man is a head taller than me. That may change." Aguirre

☆☆☆☆☆ Masterpiece

Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes - Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972) is a haunting tale of madness.

Directed by Werner Herzog.

Starring Klaus Kinski, Helene Rojo, Del Negro, Ruy Guerra and Peter Berling among many others.

Werner from the opening scene to its climatic ending mesmerizes with stunning visuals and sound. From the start you know how it will all end. Herzog draws you in and never lets you out. Your fate is sealed with that of his characters.

The film was inspired by a book of historical explorers a friend had given him. When Herzog read about the mad explorer, Lope De Aguirre, he knew Klaus Kinski was perfect for the role. Werner wrote the script in two and a half days while on a 200 miles bus ride with his soccer team. The entire production was shot in five weeks following nine months of pre-production on location in Peru's rain forest along the Amazon river.

Klaus is hypnotic to watch in every seen he is in. I wondered why he had such a heavy limp throughout the film. I discovered in researching Kinski that he had read that Aguirre himself had a severe limp from a war injury. Researching your character is so important in its development. What actor would have dreamed up on his own a limp for an explorer who had to scale mountains in his journeys.

Herzog keeps the dialogue simple and subdued. He somehow kept Klaus' vulcanic temper restrained which made Kinski's madness even more frightening. This is the first time while watching a film that I feared for the lives of the actors who were in scenes with Klaus.

Werner uses nature to slowly and methodically consume the characters. You feel a sense of impending doom that is fulfilled only in the last moments of the film.

The scene below shows the depth of Klaus' submersion into his character. Reminds me of Edgard Ramirez' work in Olivier Assayas' epic film, Carlos (2010). Klaus shares Edgard's fearlessness to lose himself completely in the role. Look into Kinski's eyes. Klaus is Aguirre and Aguirre is Klaus. Enjoy!

Trivia - When Klaus was young he rented a room from Herzog and for three months Kinski's terrorized Werner and his family with his mad rants. When Werner read about Aguirre he remembered Klaus' mad rants were perfect for the character.