★★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2022
A retelling of a deeply sad part of American history when the native Americans were forced from their lands onto designated reservations. Apache tribes were one of the most known because of warriors like Geronimo who refused to be pushed around by the white man who came to steal the land and natural resources of his ancestors.
The story is told from a perspective of a young soldier (Matt Damon) who comes to the frontier and help the American army to capture the Geronimo and the remaining members of his tribe. We are also presented with the POV of the Apache through several encounters and incidents. As always, there were good and noble people on both sides, but the filmmakers don’t shy away from the American government’s promises they never planned to keep. Jason Patrick represents those who had some insight into the psyche of the Native Americans and understood their struggle. On the other side, excellent Robert Duvall embodies those who were very one-minded at first, but after years of fighting on the frontier were able to at least respect the so-called enemy.
I’d say the success of Dances With Wolves (1990) contributed to this movie being made and it feels like director Walter Hill even tried to capture a similar vibe. I’m not sure if it contributed a lot more to the proliferation of the plight of Native Americans, but I’m glad I saw it as I was not intimately familiar with Geronimo as a historical figure. Another story told from his perspective with some details of his day-to-day struggle would be better, but unfortunately also less box office friendly.