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The Dark Wind (1993)

Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Fred Ward, Gary Farmer, more...
Director: Errol Morris
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Live/Artisan
Genre: Drama, Cops
Running Time: 111 min.
Languages: English
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Noted documentary filmmaker Errol Morris made his dramatic feature debut with this story about murder and other dirty dealings on an American Indian reservation. Recent college graduate Jim Chee (Lou Diamond Phillips) has just taken a job with the Navajo Reservation Police in Arizona, where he helps keep the peace with his superior Joe Leaphorn (Fred Ward) on land earmarked for joint use by Navajo and Hopi tribes. Cowboy Dashee (Gary Farmer), a sheriff from the Hopi law enforcement group, discovers a decaying and unidentified body in the desert, an event he thinks may be linked to a recent robbery at the reservation's trading post. The shop's Hopi manager, Jake West (John Karlen), is convinced that Joe Musket, a Navajo drug dealer and ne'er-do-well, is responsible, and as Chee and Leaphorn investigate the murder, the robbery, and a mysterious plane crash, they find themselves drawn into a web of corruption, prejudice, and deceit. Dark Wind was based on a novel by noted crime author Tony Hillerman. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Caught between the profound and the cheesy by aharper August 27, 2006 - 10:44 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
There are great moments in this movie. Besides the (I assume) native actors--who show the land in their every feature--and the great recreation of live on the rez, the scenery is amazing, the story one of Hillerman's greatest, and the sound track is captivating. If you like Tony Hillerman, this move will draw you in like a moth to a lonely desert light bulb.

Yet... The dialog sounds like it was written by Sue Grafton. The voice-over of Jim Chee shows that Erol Morris couldn't figure out how to show it, so he has to say it. The direction is crass and crude, and there is no sense of pacing or nuance of any kind. The transfer to DVD is very poor with problems of frame alignment, and video noise everywhere. And why does a sound boom drop into the top of one of the critical scenes?

The producers of this movie (who include Robert Redford) should be very proud of what they attempted, but I can't believe that they allowed their names to be associated with the final product.

You had better start with a real love of Navajo land and of the best of Tony Hillerman, because only then will you be able to overlook the tremendous flaws in this movie.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.93)
14 Votes
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