8 July 2003 | TOMASBBloodhound
Lt. Dunbar's worst fears have come true.
This film is a sweeping epic that you'll never forget whether you liked it or not. It tells the tale of love, loyalty, friendship, and self-realization in a magnificent setting among a great people, and during a time of strife. This film put Kevin Costner on the map as a Hollywood star. He could use a hit like this one right about now.
The first thing a viewer is struck by is the amazing landscape of western South Dakota. If any of you have never been out that way, do your self a favor and check it out. It will blow you away. The musical score is also very beautiful. The Indians look so authentic that they almost blend into the scenery even as we get to know them as individuals. It's hard to imagine that Plains Indian culture could have been depicted more realistically.
The story deals with Lt. John Dunbar (Costner), a disillusioned Civil War vet who asks to be transferred to a western post so he can see the west "before it's gone". He is then sent to a deserted fort where he finds himself in the precarious position of being the only white man in a land of Indians who seem intent on stealing his horse. He decides to try to get to know the local Sioux tribe and eventually becomes one of them. In finding a place in their society, he finds himself, so to speak.
Dances With Wolves is a very good film. I think it belongs in the top 250 to be sure. It is a little slow at times, but so what? A lot of great films are. Other than Dunbar, there are really no positive white characters. This is understandable considering the subject matter, but the barbarism of some of the soldiers seemed a little over the top. Other than that, no real gripes.
For me, the most memorable scene was when Dunbar and Kicking Bird were discussing the number of whites who would be coming into the territory.
Dunbar: You've often wondered about how many white people will be coming. There will be a
lot, my friend.
Kicking Bird: (in English) How many?
Dunbar: Like the stars. It makes me afraid for all of the Sioux.
Unfortunately, this fear has come true. All one has to do is drive out to White Clay, Neb. and see them sitting there. Along the street. Drunk by mid morning. The descendants of people like Kicking Bird and Wind in His Hair. These men would have been out hunting buffalo or battling with their enemies 150 years ago. Now, there is nothing for them to do. They have two choices: Stay on the reservation and live out a life in poverty while keeping their traditions alive, or try to make it in the cities and cast off their traditional ways. A tough choice to be sure. Watch the movie Thunderheart to get an idea of what these reservations are like. It's not a pretty picture.
The destruction of Indian Culture was not the goal of the United States. It is merely a CONSEQUENCE of the idea of Manifest Destiny. The Sioux are a magnificent people. What has happened to them could be summed up in one word: tragic.
10 of 10 stars
So sayeth the Hound.