Geronimo: An American Legend [1993]

Genre: Drama, History, Western
Walter Hill's revisionist take on the American cavalry's campaign to capture renegade Chiricahua Apache warrior Geronimo (Wes Studi) is, like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, a dark tale that both celebrates and critiques myths of the American West. Despite its title, Geronimo is really about the American cavalry officers who undertake the responsibility of recapturing the warrior, in particular the young narrator Lt. Charles Gatewood (Jason Patric), a Civil War hero who respects the great Geronimo and brokers a treaty with the Chiricahua, only to see it collapse when the army kills the tribal medicine man. Gene Hackman plays Gen. George Crook, the proud but sympathetic officer charged with bringing in the renegades who take to hills after the killing. Robert Duvall, the tough, racist army scout and Indian fighter Charlie Sieber, practically steals the picture with his cagey, underplayed performance. More complex and complicated than most Westerns, this is a Walter Hill film through and through: lean, ironic, beautiful to look at (it was shot on location against the astounding landscape of southeastern Utah), and driven by a wonderful Ry Cooder score. Don't confuse this with the 1993 TNT cable film by the same name; it confounded many viewers at the time of its release and may have been at least partially responsible for its box-office disappointment. --Sean Axmaker

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