Information about the director.
The Mission is director Roland Joffé’s fuzzy effort at an epic in David Lean style without David Lean’s sense of emotional proportion. In fact, Lean’s most important screenwriting collaborator, Robert Bolt, wrote The Mission, which concerns a Jesuit missionary (Jeremy Irons) who establishes a church in the hostile jungles of Brazil and then finds his work threatened by greed and political forces among his superiors.
Robert De Niro is briefly effective as a callous soldier who kills his own brother and then turns to Irons’s character to oversee…
This harrowing but rewarding 1984 drama concerns the real-life relationship between New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), the latter left at the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg—who chose to stay after American evacuation but was booted out—failed to get him safe passage. Filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentarist, made his feature debut with this account of Dith’s rocky survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal campaign. The script of The Killing Fields spends some time with Schanberg’s feelings of guilt after the fact, but most of the movie is a shattering re-creation of hell on Earth. The late Haing S. Ngor—a real-life doctor who had never acted before and who lived through the events depicted by Joffé—is outstanding, and he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Oscars also went to cinematographer Chris Menges and editor Jim Clark. —Tom Keogh