One Dead Indian
- TV Movie
Stoney Point Natives assemble at Ipperwash Provincial Park for what began as a peaceful protest.Stoney Point Natives assemble at Ipperwash Provincial Park for what began as a peaceful protest.Stoney Point Natives assemble at Ipperwash Provincial Park for what began as a peaceful protest.
Director Tim Southam - At times, he tries to be Hitchcock and Tarentino but mostly he tries to develop of his own Canadian style. His Hitchcockian touches include a firecracker scene teasing the audience into envisioning the inevitable gunshots. His Tarentinian touches include an opening scene whose blurred and frantic camera work is reminiscent of "Reservoir Dogs"( or "21 Grams") where Dudley's sister is racing to the hospital with her brother's bleeding body in the back and serves as the link between present scenes and flashbacks. His own personal touches include the incorporation of Native American culture in his film such as sweet grass smudging and pow-wow music. One poignant scene has the Gary Farmer character being smudged with sweet grass as a legal oath of honesty. This is neatly contrasted with Sgt. Deane, the white O.P.P., who is later sworn in with the Bible.
Gary Farmer(SMOKE SIGNALS) His character is the wise elder who reminds the youth on a scene by a lake shore, that the Ipperwash conflict is not a culmination of past struggles (60 years by the movie's account) but it is more a promise for future claims. He, Dudley George and the other Chippewa protesters are doing all this for their future.
Dakota House("North of Sixty")- He is perfectly cast as Dudley George, the self proclaimed "natural born a**hole", who moons the cops while flipping them profanities and the bird. Dudley's legacy is not due to any heroic or honourable deed. The legacy is in the ensuing inquiry where the justice department, in a move I pray will be copied, shows that there are not two separate laws, one for the Indians and one for the Government and Police Force, which was the concern of Dudley's brother Sam.
Eric Schweig(THE MISSING) - Eric Schweig plays Sam George, Dudley's brother. His performance here is strong enough. However, anyone who saw the similarly themed TV movie "Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story" will experience deja vu as Schweig plays virtually the same character: the torment brother of the slain Indian protagonist who has visions of his brother's spirit throughout.
Gordon Tootoosis(LONE STAR) - Fans of Gordon Tootoosis will be disappointed that Gary Farmer got the wise elder role and Tootoosis' character will be best remembered as the dirty old man who flirts awkwardly with the female cop. He does have one serious scene where he talks to Dudley on the bus on the night of the shooting. We find in this scene that Dudley was on the verge of overcoming his troublesome past at the time of the shooting, but this scene is unmemorable and Tootoosis's talents are wasted.
Gabrielle Miller("Corner Gas") - She plays an aide to Ontario premier Harris. Her story seems to be a totally useless subtext. At the end of the film, before the credits, there is a "JFK" conspiracy moment that partly justifies this subtext but mostly this whole subtext belongs in a documentary. (See DEATH AT IPPERWASH)
Overall, "One Dead Indian" is an adept portrait of a story that promises to be an important jigsaw piece in the puzzle of First Nations justice.
- Jan 4, 2006