Smoke Signals

Bomb Rating: 

You'd think that, after hundreds of years of oppression, they'd try for something more substantial.

Films like "Smoke Signals" are supposed to enlighten us as to the inner and outer lives of Native Americans, not muddy the waters even further.

For instance, I thought the indigenous people of America wanted to be called "Native Americans," yet the press kit for this film refers to them as "American Indians." Did we not just spend most of the '90s having it hammered into us that the term "Indians" is taboo? On my various travels through reservations I have tried using each, and found that neither meets with universal acceptance. So now I simply refer to "American Indians" or "Native Americans" as "those guys in the Costner movie." This referent has gone over well with everybody except one group of tough-looking Iroquois who slammed me up against a wall and said, "You'd better not be referring to 'The Postman.'"

Albeit the first to be written, directed and co-produced by "those guys in the Costner movie," this film doesn't seem very interested in examining the whole "American Indian" condition. Instead, director Chris Eyre and writer Sherman Alexie insist on telling a peculiar story about Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) and his trip to Phoenix with Thomas (Evan Adams). Victor's father, Arnold Joseph (Gary Farmer) has died, and Victor needs to go get his truck and his ashes. You'd think that, after hundreds of years of oppression, they'd try for something more substantial.

The only other notable feature of "Smoke Signals" is that it steals from John Sayles' "Lone Star" in the way it transitions between past and present. If ripping off an established white filmmaker is going to give Eyre a tiny sense of revenge for centuries of injustice, I suppose we'd be well-advised to grant him that. If that doesn't settle the debt, we'll throw in Kevin Costner.

To spread the word about this Smoke Signals review on Twitter.

To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.
0 Comments

Like This Smoke Signals Review? Vote it Up.

0

Rate This Movie:

Average: 5 (3 votes)

Other Cranky Content You Might Enjoy

  • It's rather frightening how much this movie and "The Last Samurai" have in common with each other (and with other failed Hollywood epics).

  • I saw the trailer for this film probably ten times, and each time, it elicited guffaws from the skeptical crowd. And why not?

  • Unlike most animated Disney films, where we're left to speculate about the absence of the mother, this animated film, released by Twentieth Century Fox, actually lets us watch her get put out of her m