Rudy Yellow Lodge is an investigator with the police department and witnesses firsthand the painful legacy of Indian existence. Although rampant unemployment, alcoholism and domestic violence are the norm for many reservation inhabitants, Rudy has largely escaped this cycle of despair. His brother Mogie, however, has not. Now faced with the discovery of a bloodied body, a flaming liquor store just off native land that sells millions of cans of beer a year to the native population, and his brother's ongoing self-destruction, Rudy goes on a quest to avenge himself, his family, and his culture and to seek justice. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
All agreed that Greene's introduction of Mogie's humor gave the human element they didn't know was missing. See more »
A drunken Mogie attempts to shoot a beer can with his shotgun as Rudy approaches. Near the end of the scene Mogie drops the shotgun and it discharges, hitting the beer can. Rudy picks up the shotgun and breaks open the chamber; there are however no spent shells evident in the shotgun. See more »
The movie "Skins", directed by Chris Eyre, (FirstLook Pictures) 84 min. produced by Jon Kilik and starring Eric Schwieg and Graham Greene is a milestone and an accomplishment in films by Natives about Natives.
It is somewhat reminiscent of what "Once Were Warriors" meant to the Maori People of New Zealand. Pulling no punches, "Skins" uncovers the stark reality of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) of Pine Ridge reservation and their daily plight to survive in "Third World" conditions.
Eric Schwieg gives a command performance as
Rudy Yellow Lodge, a BIA cop with an older brother, Mogie, (played by Graham Greene)who is a Viet Nam vet and a chronic alcoholic. The film also brings to light the important issue of how white border towns (in this case White Clay, Nebraska) prey upon reservations and profit from Native Peoples miseries by selling alcohol. Graham Greene gives a five-star performance and humanizes a character most people would write off as simply a drunk, while also bringing to light the fact that there are many Native Veterans of Viet Nam War in this country, a fact most Americans probably don't consider. The film reflects the reality of violence and despair on the reservation, yet keeps you laughing with wit & humor interwoven throughout a well written script. (When you are Indian, sometimes things get so bad that a good joke is the only thing that you have left.)
While Rudy struggles with his job as a cop, a girlfriend who's still married, an alcoholic brother and his own spiritualty, he still has time to be a father figure to his brother Mogie's son, Herbie. Although the stress of his job leads him into being a vigilante when the murder of a young boy goes unsolved and ignored by the FBI, Rudy reaches inside himself and finds a balance through prayer, ceremonies & family. Without revealing too much about the film, I must comment that this is the first film ever to show a Lakota wake as it really is.(I know, because I have been to many of them) The film is in many aspects as close to real as a film could get about the situation on Pine Ridge reservation. Eyre recieved a standing ovation at the premiere at Eccles Theatre in Park City at the Sundance Film Festival. (Which incidentally was attended by Mr. Robert Redford, himself, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the film!) Congrats to Chris Eyre, the entire cast & crew!
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