Jeremiah Johnson (1972) Directed by Sydney Pollak, Starring Robert Redford.
An American soldier goes west to escape the Mexican War, and live the life of a Mountain Man. Johnson, being a seemingly solitary figure against awe-inspiring backdrops of massive rock formations, steep ravines and expansive valleys, soon discovers that he isn’t the only man who has tread his path, and that the life of a Mountain Man is a harsh one.
As Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) wanders the mountains like a lost soul. A man that has no idea what hes doing, but at the same time has a great drive to do what he knows he was born to do. I feel that this is very much a “spirit quest” for Johnson. He begins the film as a young rookie, or “Pilgrim” as he is called by his mentor. JJ learns from his high number of failures to turn into a rough and tough Mountain man over the course of the first two Acts, followed by a tragic event that tests him yet again in Act 3. Almost driving him to the brink of insanity several times. Some viewers may be put off by the lack of straight-forward plot, the episodic, repetitive nature of the movie or the long stretches of silence, but it’s from those exact things the movie takes its power. JJ comes unto its own in those small moments of quietude, in Johnson’s silent encounters with Indians, in the barren, unforgiving wastes of the mountains that reflect so well the psychology of characters wandering in their shadow, in the subtle, heartwarming interactions Johnson has with the Indian woman he’s taken for a wife and the mute boy he’s taken for a son. There’s hardly a word uttered between this peculiar family the entire movie but the ways they learn to overcome the barriers that separate them is a touching sight to behold.
I loved this film and I recommend it to all film fans.