Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
You are excrement. You can change yourself into gold.
Another "I've finally seen it!" film. I've of course often heard of this as a very abstract film, but for some reason I had always thought that it was something exaggerated, even when I saw Santa Sangre back in July last year. That movie was certainly strange, but still easy to follow and get what it's going for so long as you get on its wavelength. Seeing El Topo a few days ago is what pushed me to finally see this. So, yeah, you guys weren't really joking when you said this was a loose film. Although it has an eventual wide array of dialogue discussing the topic of spirituality, this is a visuals front and center film, experimental from start to finish. As simple as it might be, my head automatically goes to wanting to compare this to 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the thing you'll always heard the most about that movie is some variance of "What you take from this is up to your own personal interpretation." Here, Jodorowsky takes that to a whole new level. That's explicitly what you have to do here for the bulk of its runtime. So, trying my best to keep this review succinct, what do I think The Holy Mountain is about? I think Jodorowsky really dislikes organized religion, modern materialism, the fetishization of violence, and how a loss of self and care is leading to a widespread acceptance of fascism and destruction. The path to find some sort of sense of self and fulfillment again therefore comes through spirituality, and in one singular word, "enlightenment." It's well-known that Jodorowsky is the spiritual type where he'll give you a tarot card reading, and he seems to 100% believe in that. Leave behind your earthly possessions, shave your head and your pubes, go to a mountain, fuck the very ground you stand on, and then, maybe, you'll be better. Of course, real life still is the way it is, so dealing with that is its own mission, something Jodorowsky purposely leaves as the final statement of the film. I don't want to call this movie "deep" because I at this point in my life dislike calling anything "deep," and you can see based on my rating that I only liked instead of loved this, but I sure cannot deny that this is a movie that requires personal thought. So, that's valuable in its own right. Often a very overwhelming experience, at times felt too monotonous and in my face for me to fully get into it, yet I can say for sure that I enjoyed my time with it. Again, I've finally seen it, I have my take with it, and I'm content with that alone. Would love to be able to sit in a theater with Nicolas Winding Refn and watch him as he watches this.