The Mission (1986)
Directed by Roland Joffé
Written by Robert Bolt
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Robert DeNiro, Ray McAnally, Aiden Quinn, Liam Neeson
Led by Father Gabriel, a small group of 18th century Jesuits are trying to protect the Guarani people. This tribal group is caught between the Spanish and the Portuguese, with both nations claiming the land. Under Portuguese rule the Guarani could be enslaved, so Father Gabriel is hoping to win the favor of Cardinal Altamirano (McAnally). The Cardinal will make the decision about which country the land will be given to. Father Gabriel has also enlisted to help of an unlikely ally in former slave-trader Rodrigo Mendoza (DeNiro). After fleeing his past, Mendoza is looking to atone for his sins in his new life as a Jesuit.
Roland Joffé put together an incredible film with this 1986 Best Picture nominee. Like his film The Killing Fields this one seeks to work on a theme of injustice which is prevalent in the story. For his direction, Joffé earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Robert Bolt (A Man for All Season) not only developed the story, but he also wrote the screenplay. The story is an excellent blend of history and fictional characters that works nicely. The cast for this film was also nicely put together. The movie stars Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook), Ray McAnally (My Left Foot), Aiden Quinn (Legends of the Fall), and Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List).
The acting in this film is pretty impressive from everyone involved. Jeremy Irons gives one of the best performances of his life as the devout and faithful Jesuit, Father Gabriel. His role required a quiet dignity that he was able to bring wonderfully. Opposite Irons, Robert DeNiro is equally impressive. Unlike Father Gabriel, DeNiro’s character needed to be flawed and intense. DeNiro was the perfect choice for the role, giving a brilliant emotional performance. Adding to the mix, Ray McAnally, Aiden Quinn, and Liam Neeson are all good in their roles. The cast as a whole really brought this story to life with great success. From the emotions to the physical demands, all of the actors rose to the occasion and it shows throughout the movie.
The visuals in this movie are so wonderful. The filmmakers were fortunate to shoot in such a beautiful location, and they took full advantage of it. The film ultimately won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography thanks to the wonderful work from Chris Menges (The Reader). In addition, the film earned nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing. Each of these aspects greatly contributes to the incredible visuals this movie offers.
As a whole, this is an incredible film. I think that the cherry on top is the gorgeous score by the legendary composer Ennio Morricone. Here’s a sample of the music from the film.
This is an intense story that doesn’t look away when things get really rough, so it might not be for everyone. Despite the PG rating, the movie does have some violence and partial nudity, so be aware. For fans of historical dramas this is a must-see movie. I would also recommend this to fans of the stars of the film. Irons and DeNiro are incredible in this one. If you’re interested in incredible visuals or an amazing score, I would suggest checking this one out. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.
One of my favorite movies, and perhaps my favorite music score.
That score is powerful stuff. I’m glad you like this movie too. I think it was way underrated in its day, and deserves far more notice now.