Mark's Review of The Mission
This movies strength lies in two things: The performances by Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, and the splendor of the scenery that surrounds the mission in question.
However, the movie lacks the emotional depth of similar 'human condition' stories, and there are some subplots that are never fully explored. It's a good idea: The juxtaposition of 'kindness' with cruelty and barbarism is a plot worth exploring. It's a sad story often repeated in many countries, that religion indeed has the power to uplift people to show the better angels of their nature. However, there's always a cost.
However, most of the indigenous culture with their natural barbarism is a little lost amidst the jungle scenery,. The process of examining their salvation isn't carried all the way through. But bright places remain.
The hidalgo that De Niro portrays is not a nice guy, and conflicted from start (penance) to finish (what really is salvation?). That's what makes for interesting, multi-layered characters. You can predict what's going to happen, but you still try not to believe it, and ultimately you do care.
A slow film, but well-crafted and shot, with another Morricone score that is nicely crafted for mood.