Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields) directs this fuzzy effort at a David Lean-like epic without David Lean's sense of emotional proportion. Lean's most important screenwriting collaborator, Robert Bolt, in fact wrote The Mis... more »
A beautifully filmed, heartbreaking masterpiece!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 05/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert De Niro is Rodrigo Mendoza, a wealthy adventurer who makes a fortune as a mid-eighteenth-century slave trader, capturing Guarani Indians in Paraguay and selling them for a huge profit to the local governor. Mendoza's life takes a turn for the worse, however, when he learns that the woman he loves, Carlotta (Cherie Lunghi), has fallen in love with his younger brother, Felipe (Aidan Quinn). And when he discovers them in bed together, he loses control and kills his brother in a swordfight. Afterwards, however, Mendoza is consumed with extreme guilt and he becomes a Jesuit postulant after meeting Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons). But Father Gabriel, who has always cared for the natives and resented the slave traders, is at first unsure if Mendoza's desire to do penance and achieve redemption is sincere. Mendoza fianlly completes his penance after suffering many hardships, and he helps Gabriel teach the Indians about Christianity. As the years pass, Mendoza and Gabriel become close if somewhat wary companions, running the isolated mission above Iguacu Falls together while allowing each other plenty of personal space.
Everything changes, though, when in 1750 Spain and Portugal sign the Treaty of Madrid, which redefines their territorial borders in the Americas. The end result of the treaty is that Spain (which has forsaken slavery) delivers the Indian land to Portugal (where slavery remains legal). To avoid the Jesuit order being expulled from Portugal, all Jesuit missions in South America are ordered closed by the Pope, which means the Indians living there will be abandoned to the slave traders. The Guarani Indians are determined to stay and fight for the mission they've come to love, and this deeply troubles Mendoza. Despite his Jesuit vow of practicing nonviolence, he knows that with his past fighting skills as a mercenary he's the only one who can teach the Guaranis to defend themselves. Gabriel also stays, but for a different reason. The end result of the inevitable battle is predictable but nevertheless is devastating to watch.
"The Mission" is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking masterpieces I've ever seen. It is simply stunning, both in a visual and spiritual way that few films can achieve. Robert De Niro, although boldy cast against type, gave one of his finest performances and certainly deserved an oscar. Jeremy Irons was also outstanding, and the supporting cast (including Aidan Quinn and Liam Neeson) was wonderful. The scenery was incredible, as was the cinematography. And who can forget the beautiful music by one of the greatest composers of all time, Ennio Morricone? In short, to call this one of the greatest movies of all time is an understatement. The dvd has an awesome picture and sound quality that even improve the viewing experience, and the in-depth making-of documentary was very informative and entertaining. If you enjoy watching movies at all, then do yourself a favor and add this treasure to your collection!"
BreathTaking Tale of Exploration and Colonialization
rodboomboom | Dearborn, Michigan United States | 01/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is provocative cinema adventure of priests taking Kingdom of God to a native population yet untouched by advancing culture and technology. DeNiro is powerful in role of changed mercenary/slavetrader who jumps sides, while Irons is just superb in role of spiritual giant with magic oboe who leads this people against all odds only to be overran -- or were they?The storyline develops slowly yet beautifully in this magnificent landscape of South America. What makes it all one moving drama is a great soundtrack by Ennio Morricone."
A mesmerisingly brilliant film experience
Dave | 07/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't just an excellent movie, it's nothing short of an experience that stirs your very soul. A masterpiece of cinematic art, it's unpretentious in its courage, raw in its rugged beauty and heart-wrenching in its honesty. Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro looked like two actors who transcended their performances and got enveloped in a real embrace of the movie's theme about courage and redemption whilst making this film. The powerful current of passion in this movie is beautifully directed and surges as the movie progresses, until its climatic ending which leaves the viewer both lifted and drained. A totally underrated movie by Hollywood standards, it ironically redeems tinseltown from the bulk of what it churns out these days. A very brilliant film that demands repeated watchings to further appreciate, not to mention an unearthly film score that's short of a better word, "HEAVENLY""
Letting the Story tell the Story -- A Fine Film
C. Price | Southern California | 02/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a historical and sorrowful story about how colonial imperialism and a church more concerned with its political power than its charge to protect its new native converts, lead to the destruction of a South American Indian tribe. This movie captures that story powerfully through an excellent mixture of dramatization and historical faithfulness.
It is to the credit of the film that it avoids coming off as moralistic, judgmental, or naively black and white. This is not to say that this is not a clash of good and evil, it is. Slavery is evil. The church's shift from offering true sanctuary to the hunted natives to abandoning those sanctuaries is evil. The political struggle between Spain and Portugal that creates the opening for the slavers to resume their trade is evil. But would it not also be evil if the intercession of the church resulted in the destruction of its ability to do any good elsewhere? The film avoids characterizing this latter concern as of no consequence, but its narrative shows that the wrong decision was made.
Another moral issue that arises is the choices two Jesuits make when they decide to resist the church's decision to abandon the Indian sanctuaries. One, a former slaver and mercenary, chooses to lead the natives in battle. The other, to whom the maxim "God is love" is the foundation of his worldview, chooses to lead the natives in prayer. Here again, however, the film does not treat the correctness of either choice as a foregone conclusion. You feel sympathy and understanding for both paths.
A closing dialogue captures one of the movies' messages. A governor is consoling a Bishop who is not sure he made the right decision about the native sancutaries:
Governor: "Your emminence, thus is the world"
Bishop: "No, thus have we made the world."
The acting is superb, the cinementography is truly beautiful, and the message is conveyed through the narrative rather than through preachy dialogue. This set also includes welcome features, including a full-length director's commentary and a documentary that visits the South American location and the plight of the natives there."