I freely admit that even though this movie is in the genre I love best – that being the kind that bends your brain into something resembling a mobius strip before turning around and tearing it all to pieces again – it took me years to understand what it actually meant. And now that I do, it is simply one of my favourite movies. Ever.
It's hard to explain in a sentence or two, but basically it is the back and forth struggle of a warrior, a doctor and an explorer who cannot accept death as anything but a disease. Yet the more he fights against it, the more he loses – because as they say, what is death but the road to awe? Only when he can take this path will he understand not only what it means to die, but what it means to live.
This movie is not for everyone. Is it dense, it is topical, and it hurts in ways that one doesn't always even recognise as pain. But Rachel Weisz is full of grace as she gazes into Xibalba and accepts her fate, while Hugh Jackman rages against her acceptance with a brutal honesty that is very raw in its grief. The lush cinematography is also extraordinary, and matched with an incredible score by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet if it doesn't give you shivers, then I'm not sure what will. This movie broke my heart. But somehow, it only feels more whole this way.