Geronimo - An American Legend
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An American legend comes to breathtaking life in this explosive epic Western starring Jason Patric,Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and Wes Studi as Geronimo. Studi (The Last Of The Mohicans) gives a stunning performance as the fearless warrior who was the last Indian leader to surrender to the white man. Betrayed by the Army's legendary Indian fighter, General George Crook (Hackman), Geronimo leads a small band of warriors in escape. Pursued by a principled officer (Patric), a grizzled Army scout (Duvall), and a gung-ho West Point graduate (Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting), Geronimo evades capture through brilliant military strategy and cut-throat courage. His true story is both an action adventure and a spiritual journey through the heart of a warrior.
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Many of the characters actually existed. Matt Damon's character, Britton Davis, is fictional and is more of a vehicle for telling the story from a third party perspective. A narrator of sorts. Gatewood was a very real person and a key player who was subsequently nominated for a Medal of Honor in his role. That was denied, and he passed away as a junior officer (1st Lieutenant) on May 20, 1896. His low rank was as much as a reflection of the stagnated promotion system of his era as it was of the political machinations behind the scenes. But that is out of scope of this movie.
One person who was portrayed poorly was Robert Duval's character, Al Sieber. He is portrayed as hating Apaches, where in real life he was an advocate and had a great deal of respect for them. Also, he did not die during the events in this movie. He was killed in a work accident on February 19, 1907. Earlier during his period as an Army scout and guide he resigned in protest of the way Apaches were treated at the Sam Carlos reservation. There is veracity regarding the claims in the film about how many times he has been wounded - there is documentation that during his career ranging from the Civil War to the Indian Wars he had received 28 wounds. That would be a pile of Purple Heart medals in today's military, so he was a remarkable man.
As others have said, the cinematography is exquisite. The realism, the even handed portrayal of the events and the acting make this a five star movie. As a documentary - which it isn't - I would have been a lot more critical and rated this much lower. It does pique one's interest in the actual events and key players, and promotes a better understanding in what I personally believe is a deplorable part of our history.
The movie does not adhere strictly, in every detail, to the history of the west, but it is close enough for my tastes. Geronimo: An American Legend is an excellent, moving story. The acting is supurb and the movie is one of my favorites.
I am anxious to purchase the movie as soon as Amazon.com makes it available in Widescreen.
I decided to purchase Geronimo after I started watching it on a VHS that someone else had recorded. They had Shane on the VHS and only 1/2 of Geronimo. I found the DVD and ordered it so I could see the entire movie, it was that good. I really enjoyed it.