Gibson received further critical acclaim for his directing of the 2006 action-adventure film Apocalypto. Mel Gibson’s fourth directorial effort is set in Mesoamerica during the early 16th century against the turbulent end times of a Maya civilization. The sparse dialogue is spoken in the Yucatec Maya language by a cast of Native American descent.
Gibson himself has stated that the film is an attempt at making a deliberate point about great civilizations and what causes them to decline and disintegrate. Gibson said:
“People think that modern man is so enlightened, but we’re susceptible to the same forces – and we are also capable of the same heroism and transcendence.”
This theme is further explored by a quote from Will Durant, which is superimposed at the very beginning of the film: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has [first] destroyed itself from within.”