(Review originally written at 25 October 2005)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Mission" is without doubt a beautiful movie. The visual are absolutely stunning. Most credit for that has to go to Mother Nature. The music by Ennio Morricone is a real threat, it might very well be his best work till date in my opinion. However the movie is more style than substance. The movie is lacking the emotions it needed and the storytelling misses the point at times.

I wish more movies were made about the European slave trade. Movies have become an important medium of history telling over the last couple of years. These kind of stories are important and because of that more movies about it should be made. I however feel that this particular movie misses the point at times. The movie should be about the natives and their struggle against the Portugues slave traders and how they want to contain their way of live and habitat. The movie however focuses at times a bit too much on the Jesuits instead. The movie could had really been an emotionally powerful one if we the viewers actually got to care more about the natives. The movie tries to be emotional but fails because the story is brought wrongly.

Robert De Niro is really great in his role even though he doesn't get that much to do in this movie. It's a bit of a waste of a great actor. Main character of the movie is played by Jeremy Irons who also does more than great. Some smaller part are played by Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn. To be honest I wouldn't call Quinn's appearance anything more than just a cameo.

I have some mixed feelings about this movie. The first- and middle part of the movie were really good and powerful however in the last 30 minutes of the movie the story concentrates on how the natives with the help of some of the Jesuits fight back against the Portogues. The first and middle halve of the movie mainly concentrated on how peaceful and beautiful the world of the natives was, it was 'On Earth As It Is In Heaven', so when the natives suddenly decide to pick up their weapons and go to battle, suddenly all of the respect and emotional bond that was build up in the first- and middle part of the movie is gone. Another example of how the storytelling of the movie is flawed. If the story was brought in a better way I would perhaps had been more shocked and saddened by the fact that the natives got slaughters along with the Jesuits. Don't get me wrong I liked the ending but it just didn't blend in very well with the rest of the movie.

Still I rate this movie highly for the following reason. I judge this movie as a movie not as a history lesson, which it really could had been. As a movie it is good, despite its at times flawed storytelling. The visuals are really what makes "The Mission" an unforgettable and highly recommendable movie. The movie might not be as powerful but it's still interesting to watch.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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