Faced with the murder of three medicine men, Navajo police must find the culprit. That the murders appear to be the work of a Skinwalker, or bad medicine man, complicate and illuminate the detective's work. Written by
The knife found in Chee's tire is held in place by grey putty, clearly seen and covering the tire tread. See more »
I don't see how I can do this.
This case. It's too much.
Wrong, Jim. Cop, medicine man, garbage man... No matter who you are, the dark wind blows on everyone, Jim. You just have to push yourself through it.
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The only really good thing I can say about this movie is that it inspired me to re-read the book. The book had some scenes that would have made wonderful cinema such as the interogation of a murder suspect who gleefully confesses to the committing the crime but claims to have used a rifle instead of a knife, the surprise reception for Chee at his first session as a healer, the discovery of the true identity of the shotgun artist, Leaphorn's rescue of Chee that unintentionally delivers him into the hands of the real murderer, and the ironic circumstances that rescue Chee for the second time. What was the reason for discarding these potentialy terrific moments and replacing them with a script that was almost on the same level as the type of Hollywood TV detective series that gets justifiably canceled in its first season?
Some other elements from the book that were missing or barely noticeable in the movie include the thrill of Chee being able to prove himself to the legendary Leaphorn, the intricate convergence of both detectives towards the same suspect from different evidence, Leaphorn's map, the evidence of how some Navajo endure the hassle of nearly impassable roads in order to live in locations of isolation and visual splendor, and of course the original method used by the murderer to commit his crimes.
Perhaps someday America will produce a mystery series on par with the best that England has to offer. Tony Hillerman's novel are certainly the proper raw material for such an endeavour, but to me this movie is a major irritant as I can not help seeing how it squanders the opportunity to have created something truly excellent.
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