El Topo is a blood-soaked cinematic tour-de-force that has no equal in my experience. That doesn't mean I think that it's the best movie I've ever seen. El Topo simply stands in a class by itself.
The open structure of this film is citicized as being haphazard and carelessly thrown together. This non-linear plot deverlopment is a device intended to reinforce this movie's hallucinatory landscape. Watching El Topo, you're on your own. It's hard to tell yourself that this is just a movie.
I first saw the film in 1971. The immediacy of the violence, the cruelty (implied and otherwise), the pervasive indifference to the suffering of animals and the visually realistic presentation of all this combines to create some of the most powerful, at times disturbing, images I've ever seen, and I have never forgotten that experience.
El Topo becomes a long, knee-deep slog through a vast pool of blood, and it's not an easy journey. You may well call it off, or you may make it to the end by any means you can. Either way, you'll probably know yourself a little better. And the world a little less.
Hunt this movie down.