El Topo
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A bizarre, ultra-violent, allegorical Western, "El Topo" is set in two halves that have widely been compared to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In the first half, Jodorowsky plays a violent, black-clad gunfighter who, accompanied by his naked son, sets off on a murderous mission to challenge four Zen masters of gunfighting, and learns from each of them a Great Lesson before they die. In the second half, El Topo sets out to find personal redemption, secluding himself in a subterranean community to learn the ways of peace, but unfortunately death is never far away. First… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The film is by turns comic and profound, hysterical and pompous, fully complex enough to deserve more than a simple yea or nay."
‑ Jay Cocks, TIME Magazine
"This is gutbucket Luis Buñuel , surrealism on the cheap, and it hasn't dated well -- the blood is patently fake and the gunshots are dubbed."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"[VIDEO ESSAY] For all of its easily mocked elements, "El Topo" is a work of mad cinematic genius that sticks."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"its mixture of genre revisionism, religious mysticism, and shocking visuals felt new and wild and meaningful, at least to those who wanted to see it that way."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"A dated counterculture goulash long hyped as art by a blank generation desperate for something different."
‑ John Thomason, Orlando Weekly
"A dreary, protracted exercise in sadomasochism."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"You may find it a tiresome, macho relic -- or a ragtag circus wandering through a fantasy realm part Treasure of the Sierra Madre, part Tolkien's Middle-earth."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"... the story of 'El Topo' proves too scattered and weak to bear its digressions and vague symbols that suggest everything, anything and nothing."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Alejandro Jodorowsky may be full of it, but I'm thankful that he spread it -- whatever it is -- across the screen in 'El Topo.'"
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"As perplexing as large parts of it are, the film certainly isn't boring. And it's kind of fun trying to figure out what it's all supposed to mean."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"The movie's lure is sensual and unflagging; that's what makes it, for all its arty absurdity, the last great movie of the 1960s."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"With style constantly contradicting content, and the prevailing mood redolent of egotism and misogyny, it leaves one the feeling of having waded through a full-blown fantasy where even the self-degradation emerges as just another form of narcissism."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Has lost little of the maddening, bewildering weirdness that made it a seminal midnight-movie phenomenon."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"While I truly do doubt that modern viewer will have much use for Jodorowsky's dated spiritual philosophy, the style with wich he expresses that philosophy is often quite exciting."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"a mystic trip through political, religious and philosophical terrains, gunning down all normative notions of what the western - or indeed Western civilisation - is supposed to be."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
More reviews for El Topo on Rotten Tomatoes