The Mission (2023) is a new movie released on October 13, 2023, based on the journey of a 26-year-old American missionary John Chau who lost his life while preaching Christianity. The energetic and young American missionary after 10 years of planning, Chau landed up on the North Sentinal Island with a view to spread Christianity among the primitive Sentinalese people in 2018.
When John met the primitive Sentinelese tribe, he ignored their warning to stay away. Unfortunately, the tribe didn’t take much time to kill him in order to protect themselves from foreign invasion.
The Mission (2023) Review:
The directors, Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss tried to show the world with this documentary how a colonial culture can drive you into danger. Even a church friend of Chau described this attempt as “pursuing a fantasy”. This religion-conversion culture has deep roots in colonialism. The adventurous journey of the young missionary is described as “the radical evangelical extreme” by a philosophical Christian Father.
From the beginning, the documentary tries to shift your judgment to Chau’s perspective by using Chau’s diary (read by Lawrence Kao). The reminiscences of friends and teachers about Chau’s past are pretty decent and you’ll feel emotional to imagine how a soulful person pushed himself way too far just to spread his religion that took his life.
One of the most emotional messages was sent to the directors by Chau’s father Patrick through a letter (read by David Shih). Patrick was literally lost and disappointed that he couldn’t prevent his son from making this dangerous attempt.
Linguist Daniel Everett kind of Criticized Chau’s colonial mindset and said it is very unfortunate that many educated people still believe in 19th-century myths and are ready to die for them. Probably, it was Chau’s fate. Some Christians describe Chau as the martyr of Jesus who sacrificed his life for a noble cause. Whereas other sets of people think it is nothing but a stupid attempt by a religious preacher. Maybe Chau’s cause was noble but for the primitive tribe, Chau is nothing but an intruder who brings fatal diseases to their community.
The documentary includes a number of images and resources, including original, watercolor-like animation and clips in order to make it charming. The National Geography documentary deserves more praise for bringing a critical perspective to Chau’s journey. National Geography is known as “noble savages” in remote lands in the Western world. This documentary may change the perception. The film is a must for everyone, especially for those reckless missionaries who try to introduce their religion to unreached people who don’t want to be reached.
Was the journey of John Chau on North Sentinel Island legal?
No, it was an illegal attempt. North Sentinel Island is a part of the Indian archipelago located in the Andaman and Nicobar Union Territory. The island is inhabited by an indigenous primitive tribe called “Sentinelese” who live in voluntary isolation from the modern world. They always fought to establish their right on the island and prevent the invasion of foreign intruders.
The government of India has prohibited anyone from visiting North Sentinel Island because the result could be very dangerous. There are many instances where fishermen were killed by the Sentinelese tribe while fishing in that area. In 2020, the Anthropological Survey of India policy document warns that any developments in the region can wipe out the indigenous tribe.