Jeremy Irons plays a Spanish Jesuit who goes into the South American wilderness to build a mission in the hope of converting the Indians of the region. Robert DeNiro plays a slave hunter who is converted and joins Irons in his mission. When Spain sells the colony to Portugal, they are forced to defend all they have built against the Portuguese aggressors. Written by
Deep in the jungles of South America two men bring civilization to a native tribe. Now, after years of struggle together, they find themselves on opposite sides in a dramatic fight for the natives' independence. One will trust in the power of prayer. One will believe in the might of the sword.
While Father Gabriel is playing the oboe at the waterfall, his fingers are clearly not synchronized with the rhythm that is heard. See more »
Your Holiness, the little matter that brought me here to the furthest edge of your light on Earth is now settled. The Indians are once more free to be enslaved by the Spanish and Portuguese settlers. I don't think that's hitting the right note. Begin again... Your Holiness, I write to you in this year of Our Lord 1758 from the southern continent of the Americas, from the town of Asunción, in the Province of La Plata, two weeks march from the great mission of San Miguel. These ...
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At the film's very end, after the final credits, Altimarano gives the audience an ambiguous, almost accusing look, as if he were asking it, "Would you or would you not have done this?" See more »
After hearing a quick clip from the soundtrack recently I decided to have another look at 'The Mission' which I hadn't seen for more than ten years. Interesting viewing in these days when epics abound: Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Troy etc.
The first thing that struck me was the intelligence of the script which often seems an afterthought in today's big budget jobs. Robert Bolt weaves an intriguing web of characters; mercenary, slavetrader, starcrossed lover, papal emissary and man of faith. The passion of Robert de Niro's Mendoza beautifully contrasts the quiet firm conviction of Jeremy Irons' Gabriel. And the moral dilemma facing the Catholic Church, whether to abandon influence abroad for the sake of power at home, is ably brought to life in the tortured mind of Ray McAnally's Altamirano. This man sent from Rome by the Pope himself has the power of life and death over the Guarani Indians and the Jesuit priests who have dedicated their lives to Christian service in the deepest regions of the South American rainforest.
The film isn't perfect by any means: I would have liked better representation of at least one Guarani character but the integrity of Joffe's direction and Chris Menges' spectacular camera-work make this one film you have to see. And there's that lovely soundtrack by Ennio Morricone.
We may be more sophisticated these days in terms of technology, sound engineering and special effects but the lesson from 'The Mission' for today's directors has to be: it's the story, stupid.
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