Joseph Runningfox in Geronimo (1993)

Another American Legend

A look at the life of the American Legend Geronimo from his teen years where to prove himself to the father of the girl he wished to marry he brought in 16 horses more than was required. We see as a young man leading Native Indians in the fight against the Mexican army who attacked their village when the women were alone, brutally killing and scalping the wives and daughters. And so on in to later life when he lead a small army up in to the hills after being betrayed by the American cavalry and being hunted down by the cavalry and the Indian hunters hired to capture him.

First things first and 1993 saw two movies called "Geronimo" this made for TV movie and then Walter Hill's big screen movie "Geronimo: An American Legend). Whilst Hill's movie focused on the legendary events following Geronimo being betrayed by the cavalry, Robert Young's "Geronimo" aims for a wider look at the man telling us his story in the form of flashback via an old Geronimo talking to a Native Indian who had now become part of the American army, telling him his life story. It is an efficient way not only to tell the story but also in old age Geronimo was feared, respected, treated like a novelty by some and found the white ways bemusing.

Anyway as the story evolves we see how from a young age Geronimo was brave, unafraid to do the impossible and as a young man full of rage to deliver eye for eye vengeance on those who attack his people. We also see how he disliked the way things were going not just with the invasion of the Whiteman and their racist attitude towards the natives but with other tribes agreeing to move onto reservations. A lot of the detail of "Geronimo" is familiar but there are also some revelations for those who are not history buffs such as it being the Mexicans who started the scalping.

What certainly helps "Geronimo" is whilst it isn't blood and guts gritty it feels authentic with a cast who play their parts with a humbleness yet with the right aspect of greatness. This is definitely the case when it comes to Joseph Runningfox who plays Geronimo as a proud man who hurts at what he witnesses going on and wants to hold on to what is rightly theirs rather than being controlled by the white man who want to run the off their land.

What this all boils down to is that whilst Walter Hill's Geronimo movie may have the bigger stars and bigger budget Robert Young's "Geronimo" has the air of authenticism which you get from lower budget movies which focus on character and story telling which is the key to this movie's success.