Embrace of the Serpent (2015) - Adventure, Drama

Hohum Score



The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of forty years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant.

IMDB: 7.9
Director: Ciro Guerra
Stars: Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet
Length: 125 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 4 out of 65 found boring (6.15%)

One-line Reviews (49)

This is a visually stunning film that is based on the diaries of Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evan Schultes – German anthropologists.

While most of Embrace of the Serpent is riveting, Guerra boxes himself in with an unsatisfying ending.

Colombian director Ciro Guerra's third feature, a stunning-looking black-and-white adventurer recounts a shaman Karamakate's two quests of a sacred plant "yakruna" in the Amazonian jungle, on the request of two white scientists.

The whole endeavor just nauseatingly pointless anthropological hand-wringing and conscience-soothing.

The compelling beauty and raw nature of the Amazon river and rain forest is present throughout the film.

Evocative musical score by Nascuy Linares and the music Evan plays on the gramophone is Haydn's "The Creation".

There is probably a quicker and more compelling way to wrap up the movie after what happened in the village.

The value of hallucinogenic plants is much more cogently explained in the writings of Carlos Castaneda, which assuredly should be read as a companion piece to this fairly absorbing film.

Third, Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet gives a truly stunning performance as Theo.

The characters are compelling.

The story of native people and shamanic traditions clashing with European world views, the exploitation of natural resources, and Catholic religious domination and extermination of native culture and language make for a compelling film all around.

Karamakate, as he did with Theo, acts as Evan's guide and considers himself as a "chullachaqui," an empty shell of a human being, and must become a man once more in tune with nature.

The lost/forgotten cultures are reason enough for the natives to distrust white men, yet the mysticism and pride of the indigenous tribes are fascinating.

Both visually stunning to watch, and bizarrely strange to experience.

Still, I'd recommend this film for its sheer beauty, storytelling, strong and compelling characters, and exposure to shamanic traditions.

The way the movie flows between these two timelines, which run in parallel during the film, is intriguing and well handled, particularly from the photographic point of view.

As for the rest, beautiful environments well photographed, precise mixture of music with silences, and a quiet but intense pace.

When Evan finally finds the healing plant, there is a rather trite scene suggesting man's consciousness merging with the infinite.

This engrossing and enjoyable film with interesting screenplay by Ciro Guerra and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal was well directed by Ciro Guerra .

I enjoyed it as well.

It's both visually stunning to watch, and bizarrely strange to experience.

Embrace of the Serpent attempts to frame the destruction of the rain forest's ecology and peoples as a slow-motion tragedy on scales both personal and cultural , but it is more intriguing in its ambitions, which frustrate it, than in it successes, which are limited .

compelling stories .


What makes the story so intriguing is the fact that the shaman Karamatake is helping two white scientists who try to reach the same thing, just at a different time.

The sequence of events are confusing, and hard to accept as true, at least as they are suggested in the film.

Breathtaking black & white photography takes us on parallel scientific expeditions down the Amazon River, with stories inspired by the travel journals of Theodor Koch Grunberg (1872-1924) and Richard Evans Schultes (1915-2001).

I ended up giving it a seven as it is quite simply a stunning work of art on so many levels.

The character of Karamakate is a pleasure to get to know, and the film has a great deal to say … and does so while being a visual stunning experience.

lets get this out of the way first, this movie is so gorgeously shot, there is this one tracking shot that transitions the two scientist together and it stunning.

This exciting film contains thrills , emotion , adventure and marvelous scenes from deep rainy forest that generate a lot of surprises and illusion .

Even if the point of the b/w, the length, the slowness and the silence was to show the natives' POV (while we, city guys, would see colors, lots of things happening every second and lots of sounds/noises) is it a good choice from a filming perspective?

Worth the watch..

The beauty and uniqueness of the scenes is mind blowing.

With a two plus hour run time this gets very tedious.

Fascinating movie.

Nonetheless as far as my desire to watch something regarding some the topics listed above is concerned, it's still much better than "El Abrazo", with an unexpected plus coming out of the entertainment factor.

And really really boring scenes.

If you like glorious black and white photography featuring exotic scenes you'll appreciate the visuals; if you like predictable stories about whites exploiting "natives" and the pernicious, long-lasting effects of the exploitation you'll appreciate the plot.

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at Academy Awards this year, Embrace of the Serpent is an art-house feature that offers its viewers a journey back in time into the very heart of the Amazon rainforest while painting an absorbing portrait of the indigenous culture that was destroyed by colonial invaders.

Instead you will find a slow and boring 2 hours b/w fictional search for a healing plant a couple of botanists undertake in the early 20th century.

Maybe I was just having an impatient day when I watched it, or maybe it was just slow in parts, or maybe it was a combination of both.

Intelligent, fascinating, anthropological...

Still, it is a very fascinating (and extremely weird) movie!

This is filmed in black and white but is stunning at capturing the beauty and majesty of the Amazon and the people.

For my own part, I have better things to do; so I regret the wasted time this film tricked me into sacrificing for the sake of it's indulgent, hypocritical, pointless nonsense.

It was boring in the initial parts, because I did not know what to expect.

This compelling and radiant black and white film takes viewers on an ethno-botanical journey to a faraway place, deep into the Colombian Amazon.

The actors were stunning as the amazing Amazon basin is.