Monday, January 21, 2008


"Run for the stronghold Thunderheart. The soldiers are coming."

Thunderheart was a somewhat well reviewed film in 1992 from the well regard director Michael Apted. Apted, is a fellow much like Stephen Hopkins that has made a few mistakes in choosing his material, but he finds one he knocks it out of the park. Apted directed one of my favorite movies of all time in 2000's Enigma. Apted has done blockbusters in 007's The World is Not Enough and some commercial drek in Enough. Looking at his sheet on IMDB is a very interesting glance.

Ah but back to Thunderheart. Val Kilmer plays a part Sioux FBI agent Ray Lavoi brought in to investigate a murder of an officer on tribal grounds. He is partnered with Frank Coutelle (Sam Shepard) who is a legend in the FBI. Frank quickly decides that it is the work of a local movement trying to advance Indian rights on the reservation. Complicating things in a militia group working for a man named Milton (Fred Ward reuniting with fellow castmate Shepard from The Right Stuff) that is interested in expanding his land empire.

Lavoi learns about his past that he was ashamed of growing up as he digs further into the death. What follows is a decent thriller with a lot of well done touches including Graham Greene playing the local LEO also looking into the death of his friend. Graham Greene got noticed in Dances With Wolves and always provides levity in his roles. It always seems a shame that his highest profile roles are because of his skin. Greene is a master in the interplay between actors. I swear he could haven chemistry with anyone even Jessica Alba. (That would be a miracle)

The quote from above comes during a revelatory talk Ray has with a tribal elder. The scene unfolds in a mesmerizing way that I can't quite describe. The usual complications happen in the way that they do in thrillers... but ultimately I felt very satisfied with the product. I miss that Val Kilmer intensity... it is too bad he has decided to take the less traveled way. American movies need him back.


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