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Movie Review: Skins

Story: I've had a lengthy fascination with the sad saga of the American Indian. Director Chris Eyre (I loved his first film, Smoke Signals) brings us another film about the res (reservation). Stories about the contemporary American Indian usually fall into the same tragic fold and this film is no different. Based on the '95 novel by Adrian C. Louis and scripted by Jennifer D. Lyne we find ourselves on the Pine Ridge Reservation (Wounded Knee) not far from Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

We meet two brothers, one a Vietnam vet who is an alcoholic and the other who serves on the Indian Reservation Police force. His job mainly deals with domestic abuse and the problems of alcoholism. They both find different ways to express rage at their plight.

The story deals with social injustice, alcoholism, poverty, anger, revenge, reconciliation and cultural genocide. While, I admit, none of these topics is upbeat, the film manages to leave one with hope.

Acting: Graham Greene, as the drunken brother, has most of the good lines and is very effective. Eric Schweig (Last of the Mohicans) is passionate as the other brother.

Critters: Dogs and spiders

Food: Uneaten dinners and some mystery meat on a spit.

Visual Art: Not much disposable cash on the reservation for the purchase of fine art in one's home.

Blatant Product Placement: Lots and lots of beer including Colt and Pabst. One of the main characters sported a T-shirt with Madonna's face and Like a Virgin for most of the film.

Soundtrack: Excellent mix of native and contemporary tunes.

Opening Titles: None. Please sit through the closing credits. The names of some of the Indians involved in the making of this film are fun to read. My favorite was, Gary Left Hand.

Theater Audience: Four men and me. The fellow sitting in the first row was laughing very hard at some of the film. I am not sure why.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: one

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: Just the frustrating plight of the Indian.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. How about some of Graham Greene's other films, such as: The Green Mile, Thunderheart and of course, Dances With Wolves.

Length: 90 minutes.