There may have been something of a good chase film here, based on a true story about a Cree Indian who turned cop killer when confronted by the Mounties over a stolen cow, but the version I saw from Digiview is so amazingly badly transferred that it's almost unwatchable. It's too bad, simply because a clean, crisp version--not edited by some lunkhead in Lower Slobovia--may have saved it from my donate-to-the-library pile.
On the whole though, it's not a bad story. A mid-thirties Donald Sutherland appears to have made this movie as a favor to his native Canada; he couldn't have been paid much because the whole movie looks as if it was made by a university film class rich with a grant from a provincial arts endowment. Sutherland is believable, and so are the group of Canadian actors and actresses, both Native and European.
The only bad performance is by a great screen presence--Chief Dan George. It was either the transfer and lack of scan and pan or no direction for the chief that robbed George's character of doing much more than looking inscrutable, usually almost off screen (because of the lack of scan and pan). In fact, there are whole chunks of the movie where you can hear people cooking or slogging through slush or gurgling from a gunshot wound, but you can't see them because nobody taught that guy in the transfer booth how to operate the doohickeys on the master board.
I had a heart procedure done last summer--nothing huge, but I'm good for another 40,000 miles. Anyway, while I was getting zapped by a high-tech soldering iron, I was strapped down on this table called an ironing board. I couldn't move my head; my vision was confined to the thousand-pound x-ray machines above me. Very unpleasant (except for the end result). Not having scan and pan is something like that. You so want to look around the sides of your screen to see what the hell you're missing. I wanted to sit up, push the x-rays out of the way, and ask the cardiologist what he was up to.
I think that's why they strapped me down.
Oh, well. What you can see, from time to time, is the provincial equivalent of some beautiful plains-state wilderness. Cold and raw, inviting to visit.
It's still not worth the buck. If this sounds appealing, try to find a decent copy.
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