Elijah Harper holding an eagle feather is as vivid a visual of Canadian history as Terry Fox running or Paul Henderson jumping. That scene is captured in this biopic that shows the makings of a hero. The film starts off with the early life of Elijah. The first 40 minutes is done with satirical humour and snappy editing and voice over in the style of Michael Moore's documentaries. The film segues into the dramatic life of Elijah's political career. In between Harper's political struggles are scenes of his personal struggles with his wife and children. His fight against solvent/drug abuse is shown as a major issue in his life, from his gas sniffing youth, to his anger over his daughter's marijuana experimenting, and the "Indian Finder" scene that propels his courage in the political realm. The main story shows how Elijah Harper and his First Nations crew including Chief Archie (Lorne Cardinal) and Phil Fontaine (Glen Gould) stopped the Meech Lake Accord from passing, a piece of legislation that would have been, in their opinion, devastating for First Nations. Cardinal, as he is on TV's "Corner Gas", is comic relief and actor Glen Gould bears a striking resemblance to Chief Fontaine. Besides "Corner Gas", the cast of "North of 60" is also well represented, especially by Wilma "Elsie" Pelly who plays Elijah's Old Woman Spiritual Guide at important intervals in his life. Errol Kinistino, who starred on both CTV series, has a small speaking role but is not mentioned in IMDb's cast list. Also absent in the IMDb list is the soundtrack which is dominated by lively surf music and snippets of Earl Thomas's song "Elijah Rock". The best thing about this film is the revival of Billy Merasty's career. I met Mr. Merasty right at the beginning of his career after making "Justice Denied" and stayed in touch with his career through a co-worker who happened to be Billy's first cousin. I wanted to like this film and I did. Merasty showed the essence of Harper's personality and many scenes(like his painful phone call to wife and daughter) show how well he has honed his craft. I hope he and his film will get some recognition with the Geminis (Canadian Emmys) roll around.
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