The basic listing on www.imdb.com (Internet Movie Database) is:
Directed by Chris Eyre, Writing credits: Adrian C. Louis (novel),
Jennifer D. Lyne .
Tagline: The Other American Heroes.
Plot Outline: An inspirational tale about the relationship between two
Sioux Indian brothers living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.
First, you must remember that this is fiction. That being said, the
movie shot on the Pine Ridge reservation. Many locals had parts in the
movie. Joe RedCloud, one of the people whose e-mails I post here, was an
extra in Skins. To quote him: "I'm in there as "background". I'm the
dude with the long hair sitting in Bat's when the guys have their little
run-in with the cop." David Bald Eagle (see pictures of us & his place
starting on this page http://americanindian.net/2003s.html ) plays the
man who calls out the names of the soldiers at the funeral.
plays Mogie Yellow Lodge. Eric Schweig plays his brother
Rudy, who is a local sheriff. Greene does a very good job with Mogie.
Mogie is an alcoholic. In an interview Greene said, "Before the healing
can take place, the poison must be exposed." He was glad to have a
"contemporary" role. Regarding one of his roles as an 1800s Indian when
the director said for him to stand and look stoic, Greene said: "I'll
stand and look stoic, if you sit and look stupid."
The two brothers love each other no matter what and despite many
disagreements. One of the main story lines is about the murder of a
young man, and Rudy's efforts to find the killers. It also looks at
Rudy's internal struggles with being a cop (hmm, that sounds familiar).
Rudy's life is affected by a "trickster spider."
Chris Eyre tried to take a realistic look at one of the most
economically depressed area in America. He said the area has 80%
unemployment, but a wealth of spirit and love. Much of the story takes
place in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Whiteclay is just outside the reservation.
The real town has a population of 22 people. It also has LOTS of liquor
stores. Since liquor is not sold on the reservation, many people come
here to buy alcohol. Anyone will tell you that not all Indians are
alcoholics, but it is a serious problem. My grandfather (who disappeared
when my mother was seven) had many battles with liquor. One of the lines
in the movie is that by selling alcohol, they are feeding a disease.
There are times when the movie is hard to watch because of its frank
depiction of desperate lives. At other times, it is quite funny or
moving. Eric Schweig's character is trying to live a good life. However,
he makes some decisions which will have many unexpected results for him
and his family.
I only spent a few hours in Pine Ridge during my trip through there in
May. So, I cannot tell you if the life depicted in this movie is really
accurate. But, it does deal with a real problem in the American Indian
community. This is not a politically correct movie, and it was intended
to be one. Joe RedCloud told me there were some mixed feelings about the
movie and the crew. Overall, from all of the people I have talked to who
either live on Pine Ridge or have spent some time there, the movie was
accepted for what it was, a story about two brothers facing life's
I recommend the movie for its characters. It has several subplots which
are also interesting. The final scene also appeals to me. The trickster
spider strikes again!
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