Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Movie Review: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, an HBO film, is of course based on the well known Dee Brown book about how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded west, eventually ending in bloodshed. It is a tragic tale and a reminder that the United States has committed its fair share of injustice over the course of its history.

As one would expect from an HBO movie, Wounded Knee stars several recognizable actors, including Aidan Quinn ("The Book of Daniel"), Adam Beach (Flags of our Fathers), August Schellenberg (you may not know the name, but he plays just about every Indian American when a role is available), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man), Colm Feore (Chicago), U.S. Presidential candidate Fred Thompson (coincidentally as President Grant) and Anna Paquin. All around, the acting is top notch, though Adam Beach, who was one of the real highlights in Flags of our Fathers (playing a frustrated American Indian living in a white world), steals the show here as a frustrated American Indian living in a white world. Unfortunately, Oscar-winning Paquin, who I still believe is a tour de force just waiting to be unleashed, appears to be here just to look pretty.

Overall, Wounded Knee is a well done, gritty and ultimately tragic tale, but it's hard not to compare this film to the HBO series "Deadwood", which was even grittier and darker than this. It's not that the subject matters of Wounded Knee and "Deadwood" are the same, but Wounded Knee is trying to look realistic and gritty, and it ends up looking second rate to a television show. The black-and-white flashbacks are what really killed for me, as they just don't look that professional.

Nevertheless, fans of the subject matter will find a strong drama in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The movie is now available on DVD.

No comments: