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Medicine River (1993)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy
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Title: Medicine River (TV Movie 1993)

Medicine River (TV Movie 1993) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harlen Bigbear
Sheila Tousey ...
Louise Heavyman
Ellen Lesly
Byron Chief-Moon ...
Clyde Whiteman
Jimmy Herman ...
Lionel James (as Jimmie Herman)
Maggie Blackkettle ...
Martha Old Crow
Tina Louise Bomberry ...
Bertha Morely
Ben Cardinal ...
Big John Yellowrabbitt
Eddie Weaselhead (as Micheal C. Lawrenchuck)
Cherrilene Cardinal ...
Thomas King ...


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Gentle Schtick
26 January 2002 | by (Toronto, ON) – See all my reviews

Will (Graham Greene) is a photojournalist who has been through gruelling shoots in dangerous places for the sake of front page pictures in the newspapers. The movie opens with Will being imprisoned in some fictional Latin-American country ruled by the iron fist of a dictator. The only way he frees himself from his solitary makeshift cell -- really a hole in the ground -- is that he does a portrait of the dictator.

Arriving home in Toronto, Will's agent/girlfriend Ellen (Janet-Laine Green) is working to fill his already busy schedule. Then, suddenly, comes the phone call about the death of his mother on a reserve in Alberta. It is upon his arrival at the reserve he sees stark differences in his lifestyle and that of the residents.

Will discovers that he is weeks late for his mother's funeral and then tries to go home to his busy schedule. But the residents of the community try to persuade him to stay in some very funny ways including making him take photos for a yearbook and putting him on the local basketball team.

In the role of Bertha Morely, Tina Louise Bomberry shines as a co-conspirator in trying to keep Will on the reserve. She also helps to engineer the meeting of Will and pregnant Louise (Sheila Tousy) who wants to raise her child alone.

I liked this movie because Graham Greene and Tom Jackson (as Harlan) work very well together. The two are foils for each other in a similar way to comedy teams like Wayne and Shuster.

The movie as a whole says something about what we value in life and how we live it. Do we reconnect with ourselves and does life come into clearer focus when we rejoin our family roots and heritage?

While the humour is not of the belly-laugh variety, it is more gentle schtick. This movie is part of a string of positive stories about our first nations people instead of the old "angry Indian" themes we have seen in other stories on TV and in cinemas.

Worth seeing!

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