by Jack Nilan            EMail :

The Missing (2003)

Jack   B

IMDB    6.4

Tribe(s) : Apache

Language : English, Apache, Spanish



   Set in 1885 New Mexico, this is movie is a combination of The Searchers and Ulzana's Raid, and while it is not as good as either of those two great movies, it is still pretty good.

   Tommy Lee Jones plays Samuel Jones, who has returned home to his daughter Maggie (played by Cate Blanchett), after living with the Apaches for twenty years. Soon after returning, Sam's granddaughter is kidnapped by Apache renegades who have left the reservation and aim to sell their captives in Mexico. The band is led by a crazed medicine man, Pesh-Chidin (played by Eric Schweig).

   The movie has quite a few scenes in which the Apache language is used. Director Ron Howard said "In my mind, there was never any question that the actors playing Native Americans would have to speak Apache. We were extremely fortunate that Elbys, Berle and Scott agreed to help us. Elbys in particular, comes from a line of great Apache leaders. Her grandfather is Cochise and her great-grandfather is Naiche. Cochise is well known as a formidable and infamous Chiricahua warrior. Naiche was the chief of the Chiricahua band that evaded the military for many years, along with Geronimo, who is better known."

   The movie is brutally violent, and shows an Apache culture that rapidly falling apart under the onslaught of the white invaders. The movie is also permeated with mysticism, as the evil Pesh-Chidin casts magical spells and throws magical dust.

   Not a positive portrayal of indigenous culture, but it does use some native actors and a great deal of authentic Apache language.