A chronicle of how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. expanded west. Based on the book by Dee Brown.
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This review is from: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (DVD) An outstanding account of a most unfortunate, emotional & historic issue.Worth every one of the 17 award nominations given to HBO.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, this movie just does not live up to the title. If a person is a student of this time period, they may be able to follow the movie. If not, its nothing more than a Hollywood movie about Indians getting the shaft yet again. This is a story much more complex than a two hour movie can portray. Not only that, but there are numerous characters in the movie who appear frequently, but are never even named. Someone familiar with these events can rationalize guesses on many of the characters' identity, but in general, I would have felt thoroughly confused if I knew nothing about this. The topic of the Dawes Act is one that few average Americans know anything about, and it is an extremely important event in the history of the American west and Native/White relations. They should have changed the title and focused more on that. I felt that the dates and events were very scattered throughout the film and that many pieces of evidence were left out. Would Sitting Bull not have had some idea Crazy Horse was going in to the reservation? What about Sitting Bull's time in jail? Why briefly mention Bill Cody and the dancing white horse? Why only give 2 minutes of Wounded Knee? Who really brought the Ghost Dance to the Lakota? Perhaps, the next time somebody attempts to make this movie, they'll either make it more historical or more theatrical. Nice try, but not what I was looking for.
The only reason I'm giving this movie 3 stars is because of the castingand the acting. Both were well done. The movie, however, is adisappointment.I first read Dee Brown's book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, when Iwas 10 years old and found out that I was part Cherokee. It struck acord with me that continues to resonate today, 30 some years later.Expecting a long overdue movie that would capture the eloquent andheart-breaking words and stories of the book, I was disappointed tofind the movie barely resembled the book at all. As a college lecturerwho frequently refers to the book in my classes, I am quite familiarwith its contents. The movie version was barely recognizable.Indian heroes such as Sitting Bull and Red Cloud come across asarrogant and foolish in this movie. They are not characters that we cansympathize with; in fact, no one in this movie is. While the story ofCharles Eastman is worth telling, it is not part of the book and issloppily woven into the storyline of the Sioux resistance at the Battleof the Little Bighorn to the massacre at Wounded Knee. That the WoundedKnee massacre should be told in flashbacks rather than as direct actionis appalling.So much has been left out of this movie that it does nothing more thancommit a great injustice to both the book and the people whose storiesare being told. Hasn't America taken enough away from the Indian? Mustanother Hollywood movie strip Indian people of yet another aspect oftheir culture, namely their stories, their history, and their heroes?In this movie, it does all three.
I have never read the entire book. But the movie, as far as I'mconcerned is outstanding. I actually thought it was going to be nothingbut gun touting action and a lot of fluff, but the movie does well inshowing the accuracies in most of the accounts that happened or wouldhave happened. The movie does a good job showing a more sympatheticside to some of the Americans who actually cared for the Indian's andtheir interests. But it was also true in showing the ignorance on bothsides and lack of understanding what truly needs to be done to attainpeace. Another good thing that I loved about this movie was that isshowed a more internal/personal conflict with the characters, somethingrarely see in Indian based movies or historically ones at that. Overallit is an awesome movie that I think, if shown in some of my historyclasses, would make that subject a lot more interesting. Anyone waitingto see the John Adams movie?
This is such a great movie. I can not believe I missed it in the theater. This is great history. ENJOY!!!
All the ingredients for a powerful film are here. A idealistic white man unaware of how his greed overpowers his compassion. An Indian who learns the white way of life, only to realize its failings too late. A legendary Indian chief facing the inevitability of overwhelming force. And a horrible massacre in which women and children were mowed down by canons and pursuers on horseback.Instead we get a movie with more drama in the soundtrack than in the script, another self-pitying performance from Adam Beach, a storyline that is so busy trying to cover a lot of historical ground it misses nearly every opportunity to connect on an emotional level, and a hair-pulling number of close-ups of proud Indian faces looking into the distance -- with tears running down craggy faces in order to underscore the sadness we're supposed to be feeling.Dee Brown's book changed the way Americans look at their own history; this film made me want to change the channel.
This is a condensed version of what happened to the Lakota branch of the Sioux nation under Sitting Bull after the Battle of Little Big Horn intermixed with the story of Charles Eastman. The movie would have been better as a series in order to develop the characters into people you cared about and to flesh out the events. As it is, the story unfolds as an endless sequence of tragedies-gets boring.
This well intentioned movie did not capture the spirit of Dee Brown'sbook, alas.Focusing the story largely around the admirable Lakota doctor, CharlesEastman and his White wife tries to give an emotional center to Brown'ssprawling narrative but the characters of Sitting Bull and Red Cloudcome off as little more than an elaboration of the famous "Noble Redmanmeets Litter" commercial of the 70's. Superficial, blatantlysentimental and ultimately, not all that stirring----although I lovedthe aerial cinematic dance of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.HBO would have been better off following the narrative structure of thebook---a compelling and heartrending documentation of the woes,duplicity and failures of communication over several hundred years thatultimately achieved the near genocide of the native peoples of Americaby the turn of the 20th Century.Perhaps a miniseries could have achieved this.Ultimately, this HBO production had little heart to bury.
BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE is a somber retelling of the eventsleading up to the massacre at (what is now) the Wounded Knee Memorial.But this isn't a documentary. This is a made-for-TV fictionalretelling, and it is the "made-for-TV" bit that makes this importantAmerican event lose some of its composure.The entire production flags because of the TV aspect, many of the filmshots losing their impact either because of lack of attention to detailor funds (or probably both). Either way this could've been an extremevisual recollection for most viewers but instead it lacks the depth Iwould've liked to have seen.Regardless, there are some stellar appearances and acting within it.August Schellenberg as Sitting Bull undeniably has the most impact.Recent movie viewers will probably remember him from his portrayal asPowhatan in THE NEW WORLD. The contrast between the character in TheNew World and here in Wounded Knee shouldn't be lost, either. WithoutPowhatan and Pocahontas, the white settlers at Jamestown would'veperished within the first few winters. And now, in Wounded Knee, it isthe white man who destroys what is left of Native American life; aterribly stark (and bloody) reality.The other notables are Adam Beach (FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS) as CharlesEastman, and Aidan Quinn as Senator Henry Dawes. They spend a lot oftime together on film and they played against/off each otherexceptionally well. Charles being the "new wave" Indian who melds intothe white man's way of life until exposed to reservation life at PineRidge. Henry Dawes seeing himself as "The Great White Savior Of TheIndians" by passing legislation that loops a few nooses around thenecks of the Plains Indians' way of life without even realizing it.But other actors have little to offer. Anna Paquin (X-MEN) as Charles'white love interest (and eventual wife) is seen too infrequently so therelationship between the two has little impact. She does a good job ofacting but the script stymied any possibility of real success. Fromhere the acting dips into the drab and boring. I have to give mentionto Senator Fred Thompson (currently a Republican runner for the U.S.Presidency) who plays President Ulysses S. Grant. We see maybe fourframes of film with him in it and then he's gone. This surprised megreatly since it was Grant's administration that doomed NativeAmericans by rounding them up and placing them on reservations.Despite my misgivings about the script, cinematography and acting, thisis a vital story that needs to be told, and it isn't something that isnormally taught in grade school or higher. Europeans (us) conqueredthis land and its people, and pushed them into holding pens where they,to this day, await justice for our multiple treaty violations andmassacres of their men, women and children (I will say that the scenesdepicting large-caliber rifle bullets ripping through young kids wasfilmed well and was equally hard to watch).So the story gives this film a higher rating than anything within it,which is unfortunate, as this terrible moment in American history needsto be remembered just as much as Germany needs to remember itsholocaust.
Luckily I was able to catch this on HBO OnDemand one boring Saturday morning, expecting the typical HBO greatness and grittiness.While long, this movie is hardly epic. That is not to say it is terrible, either. There are plenty of redeeming features with regards to acting, costumes, etc.Like with any modern PC depiction of Native Americans, the conflict is strenuous, painful, and always the same way. Traditionalism vs Modernism, the almost childlike stubbornness of the Natives to live in their homelands in peace, versus the cold, inevitable need to expand of a young nation with the world in front of them to be conquered. It is always an inability for these two to adapt with one another that leads to the conflict at hand.At the center of the conflict is Sitting Bull, the chief of the Lakota tribe, resisting US expansion. On the other side is Henry Dawes, a Senator struggling fiercly against anti-Indian sentiment in the US after the slaughter of General Custer and his troops at Little Big Horn to try and resolve the conflicts between the tribes and the U.S.The other story involves Ohiyesa, an Indian boy whose father converts to Christianity and becomes anglicized, taking his son with him, where he becomes Charles Eastman, and the shining star of hope to Henry Dawes and his faction that the natives are not savages, and can be civilized.Eastman, however, cannot forget his roots, and still has hateful memories of his time in school, Ohiyesa forced to accept a Christian name or else not be called upon or allowed to pass. His story branches out with a sympathizing woman, lamely acted by Anna Paquin, who later marries him. The both of them work to help Natives on reservations, specifically with medicine and medical help.Sitting Bull, meanwhile, sees that his land is lost, and leads the remnants of his tribe to Canada, where the Canadians graciously grant them land to live on, so long as they abide by ground rules, and tolerate the presence of their ancestral rivals. They cannot, and so the tribe forces Sitting Bull to bring them back home, where they settle in to reservation life.The story is known from here, and I won't go on about it. While the story was a good one and well acted, it fell victim to a sort of reverse-stereotyping that Native Americans suffered a hundred years ago and more, depicted as godless savages. The Americans are depicted as sleazy, uncaring, selfish men who don't care at all for the plight of the Natives, and see them all as simply a pest infection that cannot be solved via extermination. Even Henry Dawes, the Senator risking everything to help the Natives, is gradually revealed as a sleazy self-serving hypocrite who cares only for advancing his career with controversial legislation.As the Americans are hellspawn sent to ravage the earth, the Natives are the helpless victims with only good in their hearts and nature in their souls. No tribal leaders seek violence against the White men, none think of exacting vengeance against individuals, and none seek to harm anyone anywhere for any reason. The Natives gathered at Wounded Knee are simply praying. Sitting Bull is simply befuddled and confused as to why he's being taken away from his home.All of this leads to a rather clumsily delivered conclusion, in which Sitting Bull is shot in a scene because the Americans felt like shooting someone in the confusion, and the massacre at Wounded Knee for pretty much the same reason.Eastman's story isn't at all resolved, as he leaves his white wife to go and find himself, in the midst of a hellish job of trying to re-name all the Natives in reservations to anglicized names.I cannot judge the novel, as I haven't read it, and wouldn't know if this was a faithful adaptation of it, but I feel that overall, this was a clumsily executed attempt at an epic. A true example of the popular phrase about shooting for the stars, and at least ending up somewhere high. This was a good movie, but not great. And certainly not as epic as it attempts to be.
This review is from: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (DVD) It was recommended by a friend . I took her word and ordered it. Loved the movie and if you love movies based on Indian History and Culture you will love this movie. Have some tissue ready.
Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeI found the HBO movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee a strong film that makes an attempt at pulling the last chapters of Dee Brown's amazing non-fiction book of the same name. Although what seems to be impossible to make an interesting movie that's not a documentary, I think Adam Beach and August Schellenberg should have received more accolades from this film. Like most of the films that reference this period of the American West made in modern times, you're left with that stomach wrenching sadness for the Native American people. This film is not an apology, but a representation that follows Dee Brown's history from the other side, the Native American Indian's perspective. The story follows Adam Beach's character Dr. Charles Eastman, a Native American man that has lived in the white-man's world, and yet, does not fit in either. Eastman heads back to his original reservation to try and help the Sioux, the Lakota people, who are dying of disease, a broken people, with the exception of Sitting Bull, played by August Schellenberg. From a person that's actually visited the Wounded Knee cemetery on top that hill in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the massacre took place on a cold day in December 1890, it brought that history to life.It really is an amazing film that captures the true history of that piece of history that most Americans would like to forget. Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeBury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Having just spent the past 18 months studying Native Americanphilosophy and having just returned from a week at Cherokee, learningthe language and culture up close, I can say this film does helpexpress the complex and heart-rending story of the relationship betweenthe invaders and the conquered in our years 1870-1890.For those who have been critical of the film (on this site), I shouldnote from a White Woman's point of view, this is about all that Whitescan absorb of the "full" story and emotions as a first contact. Yes,more can be told and should be told. But it's a start.Perhaps this is the beginning of a revival of compassion andcross-cultural understanding.In 1775, Dragging Canoe, a Cherokee, said, "We are not yet conquered."It has taken 200 years. Let's hope he was right.
The Wounded Knee Massacre (aka The Battle at Wounded Knee Creek) wasthe last major armed conflict of what Americans term the "Indian Wars"of the late nineteenth century. Movie opens with a recreation ofsoldiers taking pictures of "Big Foot in Death," one of the disturbingactual pictures in the book, taken on the Wounded Knee battlefield in1890.When I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee over a decade ago, I wouldnever have believed that White America would have the gall to turn itinto a film Â and if it was made into a movie, it would be diluted as atrail of tearsÂ The latter has come to pass.Screenwriter Daniel Giat and director Yves Simoneau deliver a film aswatery as any American beer. Though it is supposedly a tribute to theindomitable spirit of the Native Americans, it is yet anotherWhite-Perspective slur-fest that dishonors that wild race with everybigoted frame. How could any movie on Earth convey the inhuman horrorsof Custer's men playing soccer with the heads of Native Americanchildren? The movie opens with General Custer's gruesome defeat atLittle Big Horn in 1876 by combined Lakota and Northern Cheyenne NativeAmericans Â but we don't see the heads that were just a part of thereason why the slaughter was inevitable and well-deserved. The movieends with the grisly massacre of Lakota Sioux men, women and childrenat Wounded Knee in 1890. Almost as if the "Indians" got their justdesserts for killing them nice soldier boys.I rest my case.(By the way, "Indians" is the White Eyes' name for the Native Americanraces. The Native peoples refer to themselves either as NativeAmericans or their tribe name. When the Natives in this movie callthemselves Indians so offhandedly, we realize the film-makers did alltheir research on Wikipedia.) It was not bad enough to kill off theNative Americans 150 years ago, now a movie is made about that inhumanera Â not to honor the Natives, but to MAKE MONEY for HBO; to pretend aspirituality, tolerance and political correctness modern Americans havenot the depth to comprehend.Before we continue, let us establish that Dee Brown's 1970 book is adisturbing, thought-provoking, well-researched masterpiece; a toweringindictment of frontier America of the 1800s; a history lesson from thepeople who lived it, not the ones who re-wrote it. Bury My Heart atWounded Knee is a book that scarred the self-aggrandizing perspectiveof a nation; recounting Native Americans' extermination at the hands ofthe White Eyes and their broken promises, cowardly massacres and bloodybetrayals; every single treaty between the two factions dishonored bythe scoundrels who claimed birthright to a country that they knew wasnot theirs.Though this gutless filmic re-imagining of Brown's book tries hard tobe compelling, it is merely a thin marketing gimmick for whateverNative American fever was doing the rounds in Hollywood at the time.The actors do what they can with the clichÃ©d characters they'reassigned: Aidan Quinn as the Good White Man, empowered to carve up landand herd the Native Americans out; the majestic Wes Studi, anold-school agitator; August Schellenberg perfectly cast as SittingBull, "the greatest living Indian"; Eric Schweig doing his Steven Segalimpersonation; the magnificent Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers), onestep closer to some kind of acting award; Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse(evocative name, no? Â he played the young Smiles A Lot in Dances WithWolves) is Sitting Bull's son; and playing the president better than heever could in real life, Fred Thompson as Ulysses S. Grant.At first, the White Eyes' grasping at real estate looks likeprovincialism and ignorance of different cultures ("I still believethat setting the Indians on the course to civilization best serveshim") but the Illegal Aliens (i.e. American settlers) knew full wellthat they wanted the LAND under the PRETENSE of doing a good deed forthe Natives Â doublespeaking it as mendaciously as that Great WorldTerrorist of the 2000s, George W. Bush ("We're spreading democracy (sowe're killing them for their energy resources)"). Of course, thisproud, iron-skinned people, their faces etched like rocks of ages, knewbetter - and also knew inherent grand truths that their White Eyesscourges could never grasp: that the LAND belongs to no one, that weare all a PART OF the land. Unfortunately, there is something strongerthan pride Â genocide.Not all the stupidities in this movie are the film-makers' or the earlysettlers' fault, though. We easily criticize the film for all theNatives conveniently speaking English in current American vernacularand ooga-booga accent, which simply screams "Made For Television," butother silliness can be attributed to the Native Americans and their ownbogus "spirituality": Wes Studi preaches that if they all do The Dancethey will live forever.. uh, ooookay. And I know a modern Native friendwho still fasts for a week and nails himself to a tree everyTree-Nailing Season and then swears he has "visions" Â of COURSE youhave visions! You're hallucinating from food deprivation and bloodloss! Our only hope is that viewers of this vapid HBO movie will beencouraged to read Brown's book and perform true-hearted research intothe buried heritage that the White Eyes are still working so hard topretend to forget.
This review is from: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (DVD) This is a great movie. I recommend it. My hole family loved it. it will touch your heart for sure.
WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL! BEAUTIFUL ACTING!THE MOVIE "BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE" TELLS HOW THE WHTE MANCOMMITTED AN INJUSTICE TO THE AMERICAN INDIAN.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOTH BOOK AND MOVIE.
My friend from Standing Rock (Hunkpapa) and I watched this one Wednesday after I got this show. He was not impressed; August Schellenberg just did not bring Sitting Bull to life. He was somewhat insulted by the portrayal.This show does depict early reservation life well, with the rations and the corral "hunting", and of course, the Massacre at Wounded Knee. However, wounded Knee was only shown in a brief flashback, and was not really explored firsthand. I was suprised, and my friend quit watching the show after about forty minutes. I think the director would have been better off to use someone like Russel Means, Floyd Westerman, or even Wes Studi as Sitting Bull; Schellenberg just didn't fit the part.
This review is from: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (DVD) Over the years,I have read the book several times. Since moving to South Dakota, I drive down to Wounded Knee at least twice a year. For me, it is a humbling experience. I found HBO's production very entertaining, and while it is not completely accurate, educational as well. As the saying goes, history is usually written by the victorious; therefore, it is good to have a production of this caliber provide viewers with a different perspective of a tragic, shameful event.
Because there is a shortage of these films.People are missing the point of this movie which was the ability to adapt like Charles Eastman. The wild indian man running around the great plains, with no law, was over, and Charles dad knew it. It was a great film, but also showed the cruelty of the blue coats.Its always better to get something than nothing for your land. And who says you have to stay on a reservation????? With some money you can go to any part of the USA!!!With no money-- destitution.
When I heard this movie was coming to HBO I knew it was going to be a good movie. It tells of the many conflicts the Sioux Nation had with the white man while trying to survive. The actors were fanominal. They played off of eachothers emotions and situations extremely well. Especially Adam Beach's character who does a complete 360 when he realizes the way his people is actually being treated.The director portrayed the history well. From the battle at Little Big Horn to the senseless massacre at Wounded Knee. I had tears in my eyes from watching the massacre. Kudos to the director for protraying the history correctly.It is out of all my backgrounds; Irish, French, Native American, Black, Chinese, and German; that I am proud to say that I feel more attacted to my Native American and Irish heritage. But mainly my Native American ancestory. More so with the past 500 years of history that we had to endure.For those who complain about their "civil rights" being violated, I dare you to sit down and watch this movie from start to the end of the credits. And complain about your rights. This movie shows how the white man made promises and promises to the Sioux but broke them.Julius A. Archibald IV - Cloud Walker