The Indian Runner (1991) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love.

  • A Vietnam vet comes home to his small town and finds himself in conflict with rules that his brother has vowed to uphold.


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  • Reminiscent of Richman Poorman, this movie plays like a greek tradgedy with no happy endings. A tale of two brothers that fill stereotypical roles of one brother favored with a half full indulgent take on life balanced with a younger brother that radiates impending doom. Tough and often wrong decisions pepper this movie and lead the viewer to believe for a moment it might be possible for a happy ending. A final decision at the end of the movie leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. Opinion: Eric Roberts would have been perfect for the role of 'the indian runner'.

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