14 February 2001 | mhasheider
An intelligent and seriously moving melodrama.
A great melodrama in a small town during the seventies about two grown-up brothers; Joe (David Morse), is married and a deputy sheriff who seems to be highly devoted to his job. Frank (Viggo Mortensen), who is the younger one of the pair, comes back from Vietnam even though he has the habit of being a troublemaker.
Morse and Mortensen are nothing short of excellent in their performances and are backed up by a solid supporting cast (Valerina Gorlino, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Sandy Dennis, and Charles Bronson). Out of the bunch, Bronson is the one to watch here as the boys' quiet and solemn father and he treats it to perfection. In one scene, he tells Joe while they're sitting out on the porch that he was wrong about Joe marrying Maria (Gorlino), who is Mexican.
There another surprise that makes the film more compelling to watch is that it's the directing and writing debut of actor Sean Penn. The movie was inspired by the Bruce Springsteen song that's called "Highway Patrolman".
Anthony Richmond's cinematography is extroadinary and the musical score by the late Jack Nitzsche is very solid.
"The Indian Runner" presented a rare and very interesting question to me: "Why doesn't any movie director make a film that shows the two sides (bright and dark) of the director themself?"
In conclusion, this movie is intelligent and seriously moving. And it shows that Penn can write and direct beside act.