- Original title
- Running time
- 127 min.
- United States
Fred Dalton Thompson,
Tristar Pictures / Tribeca Productions / Waterhorse Productions
- Synopsis / Plot
- Agent Ray Levoi (Val Kilmer) buried his Native American heritage with the body of his drunken father. Raised by his white mother and stepfather, he becomes a gung-ho federal agent who never questions the authority of the U.S. government. Then Levoi finds himself in a real-life version of "cowboys and Indians" when the FBI moves onto a South Dakota reservation to apprehend a fugitive. Once in the community, the agent uncovers a plot to frame American Indian activists. With the help of an Indian sheriff and shaman (Graham Greene), he learns to accept a long-denied part of himself and to fight for his people. Created after the success of DANCES WITH WOLVES and LAST OF THE MOHICANS, director Michael Apted's film takes the buddy-cop genre and uses it to explore the sordid politics of reservation life in the United States. The film was released just weeks after Apted's documentary INCIDENT AT OGLALA, which examines the unjust imprisonment of Indian activist Leonard Peltier. Together the two films form a powerful plea for recognition of the mistreatment of Native Americans.
- Critics' reviews
"What's most absorbing about 'Thunderheart' is its sense of place and time. Apted makes documentaries (...) at the end there is a sense of rightness in the way everything turns out. (...) Rating: ★★★½ (out of four)."
Roger Ebert: Chicago Sun-Times
"Kilmer and Shepard give strong performances -- though Greene steals the show -- and Roger Deakins's camera sweeps breathtakingly across the Badlands. What's missing is a sense of purpose."
Peter Travers: Rolling Stone
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