The Holy Mountain (1973)

TheHolyMountain

1 / 5 stars      

If there’s one thing you can say about Alejandro Jodorowsky, it’s that he has a certain style. The problem with that is that his movies are evocative of that style to the exclusion of all else, including plot structure, entertainment value and humility.

For those who think Jodorowsky is a genius, I apologize for the next couple of paragraphs because I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. I’ve read hundreds of reviews of The Holy Mountain and El Topo which praise him endlessly for his stunning vision and his unmitigated mental prowess. What this movie presented to me as I watched it was a rambling, chaotic jumble of 70’s imagery, symbolism and most likely drug-induced dialogue (or lack of it).

I don’t doubt for a moment that the director had a message to convey, and was convinced that he was putting forth that message in a way that would become clear once the audience broke through his veil of allegory and bathed itself in the dizzying depths of his vision. What comes across to me, however, is simply an atmospheric acid trip that quite literally leads nowhere and is all the more a let down once the fourth wall is broken and we see that the illusion isn’t even sacred enough for the director himself to protect.

I haven’t spent a lot of time describing what the movie is about or what happens during the roughly two hours you might spend watching it. That’s because what you see isn’t really relevant. I suspect this movie has no viewers who thought it was “OK” or “not too bad.” You’re either going to love it, lose yourself in it and be baptized by the wonder that is Alejandro Jodorowsky, or you will do like I did: Wonder why those people feel that way. Maybe I missed the point. I don’t think so.

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