The tone of the movie is set at the very beginning – "Seven times in my life the armies of the long knives have destroyed our homes, burnt our crops and driven us further and further from our homelands...." The focus throughout the movie, as it was in reality, remains on this relentless pressure to succumb to the ever encroaching and advancing American colonists and army, to surrender and live out the rest of your life like a beggar in a reservation that is no better than a prison. Tecumseh knows that even signing a treaty will at best only be a very temporary respite before the inevitable happens. He chooses to fight to the death, and exhorts every other Indian tribe who listens to him to join him in a unified army so that they have a chance to defeat the American army. In spite of being a great orator, he is only partially successful in uniting the Indian tribes, simply because the Indian by nature and instinct was an 'individualist in war as well as religion' (Eastman).
The basic plot of the movie is historical, so the question is: how good is the portrayal of the main character and whether the art gives us insights into Tecumseh's intense personality. For me it definitely does, and Jesse Borrego's expressions and body language reflect the intensity and passion of Tecumseh's character, oratory and actions. Even the supporting actors provide nearly the same intensity – notably Gregory Cruz and Tantoo Cardinal, even David Clennon. The credit also goes to the director for bringing out the best in all the cast.
The other important thing for me in any movie is the script – and that too is as good as it could be – the dialogs (very close to the historical) are also focused and powerful throughout. "Every treaty you have ever made, you promised to be the last, and every time you invaded us again." "When Jesus Christ came upon the earth, you killed him. The son of your own God. And only after he was dead did you worship him, and start killing those who would not. Who could trust the word of such people?""Shall we give up everything, all sacred and dear to us, without a struggle?" Overall this movie is for those seriously interested in culture, psychology, anthropology, history and education and is not for entertainment buffs.