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</script></div>{/googleAds}To the outsider (this reviewer is an outsider) America stands as one of the most overtly patriotic nations on the globe. Pride radiates from its citizens, and its flag appears throughout our planet as a beacon of that self-pride. But like any nation on this globe, America has a lot to answer for in the creation of its current form. Like any nation that exists today, America has oppressed, and it has done evil things to those that stood in the way of its ‘progress'. My country, Australia, is no less culpable - having reduced the Aboriginal population to near-extinction, and attempting to wipe its unique culture from the face of the earth. Like my country, America has a dark chapter in its history that - for the better part of the 20th Century - was largely swept under the carpet, and rarely spoken of. In 1970 an author by the name of Dee Brown attempted to rectify that, and succeeded remarkably.

More than 30 years later, following Brown's fine example, HBO have adapted his novel for the small screen. Like Brown's book, the clichés and romanticisms of ‘The Old West' and the ‘American Indian' are stripped away, and the true story of the atrocities inflicted on America's natives in the latter 19th Century is told in an unflinching two hours of television this film succeeds in showing what some ‘progress' ultimately costs...

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee follows the threads of three historical key players during the final Indian wars, and subsequent efforts to assimilate the natives into ‘civilisation': Lakota Chief Sitting Bull the last Indian Chief to surrender after the Indian Wars; Senator Henry Dawes one of the main architects of government policy on ‘Indian Affairs'; and né Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman) a Sioux boy raised in privalege to be a doctor, and upheld as an example of ‘successful Indian assimilation' into ‘civilised culture'.

French-Canadian director Yves Simoneau intertwines these three threads with great skill, and guided this project to a recent and deserved 6 Emmy wins. He makes great efforts to afford the film an epic scale on a tv budget, and for the most part succeeds wonderfully. Where the film slips is some of the odd scoring choices made in particular the absence of any score during a pinacle and historic battle toward the beginning of the film, and the blaring, grandious theme played over a moment of quiet later on.

The cast is superb, from Aidan Quinn as Dawes, Adam Beach (who shone in last year's Flags of Our Fathers) as Eastman, August Schellenberg as Sitting Bull, and J.K. Simmons in a much edgier role than usual, all pour their best efforts into their respective characters. Ironically, it is Oscar winner Anna Paquin who doesn't fair as well in this film however, her performance is not to blame. While it's understandable that with such a detailed story condensed to under two hours, some elements are going to be focused on more than others, Paquin's Elaine Goodale is hurriedly introduced and exploited only in moments that serve Beach's Eastman, making her an undelevoped and uninteresting addition to this version of the story.

Having produced such an unwaveringly frank depiction of what occurred to the Native American, these filmmakers should be applauded. While nothing not money, nor words, nor movies could ever absolve the atrocious and inhumane treatment of these people's ancestors, the fact that some are willing to stand up and take responsibility, to admit a grievous wrong was inflicted on these people, and to try and teach future generations to denounce such actions, is something to be proud of, and something to hope may be successful. As an outsider, lucky enough to see this film for my job, I hope the future sees another film or two like this, seen on the big screen, and spreading this important story for all to remember throughout the world, and to learn by.


DVD

DVD Details:

Three informative featurettes, focusing mainly on the making of the movie. I would have liked to have seen a documentary focusing solely on the real events.

Screen formats: Widescreen 1.78:1 Widescreen

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentaries -
o Feature-length audio commentary with Director Yves Simoneau, Adam Beach and Aidan Quinn
* Featurettes
o Making History - Behind-the-Scenes Look into the Production of the Film, Including Interviews With the Cast and Crew.
o The Heart of a People - Historical Perspective of the American Indian Experience as Depicted in the Film.
o Telling the Story - the journey of the book to the screen.
o Interactive On-Screen Historical Guide Prepared by the Film's
* Photo Gallery

Number of discs: - 2 with Keepcase packaging

{pgomakase}

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