El Topo Review

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Trippy, cult classic from Alejandro Jodorowsky.


Famously feted by John Lennon, Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 cult classic has recently been subjected to much snooty derision. Its densely allegorical content has been dismissed as hallucinogenic obscurantism and its iconography derided as insanely egotistical. But denouncing a movie because it makes demands on the imagination as much as the intellect simply represents sloppy criticism.

This is a hellishly difficult watch and even if you think you recognise riffs on everyone from Leone to Peckinpah, Buñuel to Godard and Tod Browning to Glauber Rocha, there's always still more to challenge, intrigue and baffle, as Jodorowsky's drifter acquires wisdom while picking off four master gunmen before seeking atonement in a discarded community whose subterranean refuge abuts a decadent town (whose excesses and prejudices have a distinctly American feel). Violent, visionary, vital.

Violent, visionary, vital.