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Mission, the


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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Cherie Lunghi
  • Directors: Roland Joffé
  • Writers: Robert Bolt
  • Producers: Alejandro Azzano, David Puttnam, Felipe López Caballero, Fernando Ghia, Iain Smith
  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: Nov. 1 2001
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630027120X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,599 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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 Mission, which concerns a Jesuit missionary (Jeremy Irons) who establishes a church in the hostile jungles of Brazil and then finds his work threatened by greed and political forces among his superiors. Robert De Niro is briefly effective as a callous soldier who kills his own brother and then turns to Irons's character to oversee his penance and conversion to the clergy. The narrative and dramatic forces at work in this movie should be more stirring and powerful than they are--the problem being that Joffé is too removed from them to allow us in. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein on June 7 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Not for the squeamish, "The Mission" explores the duality of Europe's presence in South America -- the salvation brought by the Jesuits and the condemnation brought by "civilization."
Roland Joffe, the director, pulls few punches. The film opens with the dictation of a letter to the Pope by a prominent religious figure, Altamirano, who has just undergone the events that will transpire in the film, and we learn that these events are not pleasant: "the local savages are now free to be enslaved by his Holiness . . ."
These events "were brought about" by the horrifying martyrdom of a Jesuit priest, who had journeyed to the "uncivilized" lands of the Indians above the falls (and what falls!). The local Indians, apparently rejecting his Christian teachings, crucify him and toss him into a river . . . a river that soon flows to the falls, and the descending cross is one of the most haunting images you will ever see on film.
In response, another Jesuit priest, Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) heads above the falls, and uses his music (score by Ennio Morricone of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" fame) to win the trust of the locals. Soon he is preaching the Word of God among them.
Unfortunately, the slaver/mercenary Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro) is hunting the Indians for slavers. He ominously warns Gabriel about the futility of building a mission among the Indians, and he seizes several.
On his return to "civilization" below the falls (the dusty town stands in marked contrast to the lush greenery above the falls), Rodrigo learns that his beloved Carlotta does not love Rodrigo, but has fallen for Rodrigo's younger brother, Felipe (Aiden Quinn).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 30 2007
Format: DVD
This is a true story and it is a very sad one in the history of the west and of the church.

Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson and many more take us through the history of slavers in South America. Irons, who plays a Spanish Jesuit Priest, goes into the wilderness to build a mission, to convert the Indians. DeNiro plays a slaver who eventually joins Irons’ mission and serves the native peoples.

The main question in this film is that of ownership, and the right to make slaves. The mission begins in Spanish territory that is sold to the Portuguese. The Portuguese do not want to accept that the natives are humans - but at best trained monkeys - and that their Christianity does not protect them from becoming slaves. The Cardinal who came to oversee the decision came with a decision already made, and his inner turmoil, as the narrator, draws the viewer into the political side of the decision and the political side of the church’s role in the decision, at that time, in a way that few other films ever have.

The film is a cinematographic masterpiece. While watching the movie, pay close attention to light and darkness, the music, and the angles used in filming. This movie is great and a must see because of the story it tells and the way it tells it. It is truly a film and not just a movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fabiola on June 2 2004
Format: VHS Tape
The story takes place in 1750 as the jesuits teach the Native Indians of Southern America different things to help them live off their own work, among other things. The movie reveals the cruelty with which the indigenous people were treated, but also shows how humane and capable they were of stablishing their own communities. It is a story that gets to your heart no matter how strong you are. You feel for the characters and you hate others as well. You see the frustration and the tragic destiny of the native people in a way that no other movie has done before. Culturaly wise, it opens your mind and your heart to other societies. Besides being a heart-touching story, the movie is a great historical reproduction. Without doubt, it is one of the best movies I have seen. It says a lot about humanity and it makes you question your role as an individual.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rick Gauger on April 29 2004
Format: DVD
The Mission refers to episodes in South American history usually called the 'Jesuit Reductions.' The Jesuit order was so successful in its mission effort that they almost succeeded in establishing native American nations strong enough to resist white invasion and exploitation. Something similar happened in the future USA (the Flathead Indians of western Montana) and the future Canada (the Meti). The Jesuits were attacked in Rome by their political enemies, which led to the events in the second half of the movie.
I'm a Vietnam veteran. The second half made me burst into tears in front of my amazed wife. I was surprised as much as she was. At the time I didn't realize how badly I was affected by what is now known as PTSD. This movie is a must-see for anyone who wants to wake up from the stupor of American consumer life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lorena Gutierrez on June 2 2004
Format: VHS Tape
The subject matter of this story, based on real events, is the expussion of the Jesuits from América (1750). They became the refugy of the indigenous people of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina from hacendados or slavery. Jesuits' doctrine was one of love; they loved and respected the guaraní. Nevertheless, spanish society still considered indians as "jungle animals". Due to the abuse that landowners committed against the guaraní, some of the missionaries felt the moral responsability to report it to religious authorities which did nothing about it. The missionaries responded each as their consciousness guided them to protect the guaraní. The courage of the missionaries is admirable. This film is worth watching because it presents a very accurate and descriptive account of a terribly sad part of latinamerican history.
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