My Top 10 vastly underrated quasi-adventure film with the barbarism of the slave trade as a backdrop but as this film comes to a ambiguous conclusion one could see the issue of slavery proceeding unabated via thru the mystic winds blowing off the unforgivable ocean.
Herzog's masterwork. Kinski at his most unhinged. Nature's full force. 3rd World in control. Beautiful, offbeat, yet delicate visual storytelling. A great character-driven story. Man, I loved this film. Oh... and the singer of the "nun's choir" is mesmerizing. Has charm and knows it. Fantastic. Final scene of the film: The. Best. Forget highly overrated Aguirre, THIS is the film that Herzog should be remembered for.
How Werner Herzog pulled of his larger-than-life historical epics I cannot understand. The sheer willpower used to illustrate the incredibly complicated, richly absurd arena of the slave trade in its last years would have put most filmmakers in the grave. Klaus Kinski is yet again a box of dynamite, trudging through the picture with the ferocity of an enraged activist vying for our edification.
Herzog's best-ever fiction film is also his best documentary, which is perhaps why he has been at pains to separate the two ever since. Kinski is like a stony thing, a relic of the land and history; this is the film where we most clearly see why Herzog loved Kinski so much, and how he did: from a certain distance. With distance comes rapture, always.
While it's not the best Herzog (and kinski) movie, Cobra Verde is apart of herzog's filmography, painting a really unique and special colour. Still Mezmerizing despite his defaults. "I would live in the lands of ice and snow...Anywhere to be away from here...The heat here is mean and inescapable. It courses through the body of the people like a fever. And yet, my heart grows colder and colder."
This is commonly considered Herzog and Kinski's least good partnership together, and if so, neither of them has anything to be ashamed of. It's not a masterpiece like their best; the character of Cobra Verde is too frustratingly vague to pull off the arc completely. But it's rich in spectacle, and its view of human nature as inherently cutthroat (but also inherently conflicted) is a worthy addition to Herzog's canon.
The final Herzog/Kinski, at once the most pared-down and the most extreme. This may be because it seems to be a film made by Kinski himself, where a world of madness and suffering can only be made sense of from a mad and suffering viewpoint. Likewise, the threadbare and barren scenes showing elements of colonial life give way to opulent crowd scenes, where exuberance and death dance often joyfully together. 3.5*