Pros: Presentation of a true injustice to humankind
Cons: Presentation of a true injustice to humankind
After watching this movie 4 times I am still waffling over the review. Seldom do I find a movie I cannot give a review ~ even a bad review ~ on. In order to do justice to this one it would entail one that was so cumbersome that most would not read it. I will instead outline the characters, for they ARE the movie.
Jason Patric - Lt. Gatewood, a soldier from the South'. Gatewood has a unique role in this drama. Coming from the defeated South, he feels few ties to the new' United States, but does have a sense of loyalty to the Army. He has also formed a bond with Geronimo, respecting him as a man and a warrior. He is at odds, then, to perform his duties against his friend and for the United States.
Because of his allegiance to the warrior, Gatewood is eventually sent to a remote outpost where he will not longer have interaction with his native friends. This is a great loss because Gatewood is the one person that could reign Geronimo and his minions in, had the Army and the U.S. government held true to their promises.
Patric provided a wonderful heartfelt performance as Lt. Gatewood with his only flaw (not his exactly) being combating against Hackman and Duvall. At the time he did not have the power to pull the show away from these mega stars.
Gene Hackman - portrays Brg. General George Cook. In a rare role for him, Hackman plays the sympathetic leader. He believes in the US Army and in their promises to the Indians. During his tenure he has had an entire regiment of American Indians and has formed solid friendships with these men. He considers the Indian as a fellow man and not something to be feared.
Despite his attempts to bring the Chinachua back to the reservation he often fails and must engage in battles he has no stomach for. Eventually he retires, embittered by his experiences.
Robert Duvall as the Chief of Scouts, Al Siebar, both despises the Indian for their atrocities and the white man for their atrocities. While most of his time is spent in the company of his regiment of Indian scouts, he never completely forms the bond that Patric, Hackman and Damon do. His respect of them, however, is enough to cause him pain when his troop mistakenly kills the medicine man in error.
Kevin Tighe as Brg. General Nelson Miles moves in as Cooks' replacement. He lost his last sensitive bone the first time he saluted and said Yes, Sir!" He has no feeling nor compassion for the murdering savages and takes great joy in informing the scouts their services are no longer needed as he strips them of their rank and shuffles them off to concentr.....oops, reservations. Tighe played a part you loved to hate.
Wes Studi is the infamous Geronimo. He is all mankind and no one in the movie. On one hand he is a dedicated friend and kindred spirit but with the flip of a wrist turns into a merciless killer. He is portrayed in this movie as a man of morals and dedication. Fighting only for what is rightfully his (theirs), thrown into an unnatural lifestyle. He tries to stay true to his family but he also believes the white eyes' when they offer their back stabbing deals. Studi was remarkable in this film.
Matt Damon was Lt. Britton Davis, recent graduate of West Point. Naive to the nth degree. Davis narrates throughout the movie and is probably the most affected by the events that take place. As a green soldier, he believes strongly in his country, he believes his country will do right' by the Indians. He, along with Gatewood, leds the troops that eventually capture and cage the mighty warrior. He watches Geronimo, his men, and the faithful scouts that had foolishly served the army, board to train heading to Florida and their fate. Ashamed, he resigns his post.
Damon, although young and inexpericed amoung these other actors, gives one of the best performances. His feelings embody the feelings of most of the players in this movie.
As a sidebar, Lt. Davis went on later to write an article "The Truth About Geronimo".
In all, the movie and the characters were so diverse and complex you come away feeling you received a decent portrayal of this drama. You also come away feeling tainted by the injustice to the Indians and ashamed of yourself.
Lloyd Ahern did a fine job with the cinematography, often showing the battles in slow motion to add to the feeling of the battle.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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This 1993 'revisionist' Western tells the story of the white army who came to remove Apache warrior Geronimo (Wes Studi) from his land and the struggles the Indians put up in order to keep their land. Led by two Army leaders (Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall), the government tries to extract the Indians from the land, using both force and lies. Director Walter Hill (48 HOURS, THE WARRIORS) looks at both sides of the conflict and shoots beautiful cinematography in the American Southwest. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> The story of the Apache renegade who waged a fierce, lifelong war against white settlers and the U.S. Cavalry. Academy Award Nominations: Best Sound.