2019 Film Reviews – 51: Embrace Of The Serpent [dir. Ciro Guerra; 2015]

Returning after a few years to a film with which you were originally impressed is always an interesting experience, not least because it gives you a chance to test your memory of it. In the case of Embrace Of The Serpent – Ciro Guerra’s account of a couple of explorers undertaking a dangerous journey along the Amazon in different time periods – I found myself surprised on two counts. Firstly, I’d forgotten quite how unsubtle the movie’s eco-warrior sensibilities were in certain segments. And secondly, I’d convinced myself that almost the whole film was a surreal, hallucinogenic experience, whereas it turns out that only a few sequences head in those directions. But that aside, this remains a compelling, troubling piece of work, blending elements of Apocalypse Now and Fitzcarraldo to tell a story all it own: as dark, mysterious and unpredictable as the river whose personality it depicts with such unforgettable power. 


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