The Indian Runner


Action / Drama

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Viggo Mortensen Photo
Viggo Mortensen as Frank Roberts
Patricia Arquette Photo
Patricia Arquette as Dorothy
Benicio Del Toro Photo
Benicio Del Toro as Miguel
Valeria Golino Photo
Valeria Golino as Maria
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.05 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S 0 / 3
2.02 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S 0 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moonspinner554 / 10

Heavy-going 'art'...

Thin story of two small town brothers and their struggles over family honor. David Morse is the responsible, straight-laced cop and 'good brother'; Viggo Mortensen, the 'bad boy', is a former soldier and ex-convict. First-time writer-director Sean Penn seems to have modulated the performances here using the same Method he himself began with early in his acting career. While that's not entirely a negative, things do get awfully murky and turgid. The story also churns along using the same methodical process, slowing the pacing down to a crawl (ostensibly so we can catch every nuance and inflection). This approach might be fascinating if there were three-dimensional characters to care about, but photogenic Morse and Mortensen aren't really convincing as siblings. Worse, we expect more from prominently-billed veterans Charles Bronson and Sandy Dennis, who hardly get a chance to come through with anything interesting. The picture is balky with a wobbly narrative and confusing editing (always slanted to point up the artistic excesses). Penn's tricks with the camera show off a talented eye, yet they are more often an irritation. *1/2 from ****

Reviewed by dbdumonteil7 / 10

Old man inside a young one.

Penn was 30 when he made this movie,and it seems to be a mature director's work.Although it takes place in America,it has an European sensitivity;in a nutshell,it recalls John Cassavetes (to whom the film is dedicated) and Kenneth Loach. Connection with John Cassavetes? Penn refuses any dramatization;the mother's death (Sandy Dennis has only a cameo)is totally non-melodramatic:a short scene between the father (almost unrecognizable Bronson,in a part diametrically opposite to his usual he-man performances)and Joe,another one between the two brothers,in which emotion is so subdued it takes a stranger -Dorothy,Frank's girlfriend- to shed a few tears.No dramatization too when Frank smashes the man's face in:we only see Frank's bloody face. Frank was a Vietnam veteran,but never Penn uses it as an excuse or an explanation as far his behavior is concerned:no flashbacks,no bad dreams,no hints at the war he had to fight,no clichés.Joe is a good man,he's an Abel who wants his brother to find his "delicate balance" although he does know it's impossible.It seems that this impossibility has its roots in childhood,as Penn insists on the picture of the little boy dressed as a cowboy with a pair of revolvers.Some are born to endless night,some are born to sweet delight. And here's the connection with Loach:like him,he focuses on ordinary people,on the small joys of their routine life.Joe dreams of a simple happiness,between his wife and his kid.He knows that life is hard,but he wants to hope against hope,and his nephew's birth is to him one of these sweet delights he has learned to content himself with.The last sentence is a message of hope,and God knows how much we need it.The late Laura Nyro wrote this line:"and when I die,there will be a child born to carry on".

Reviewed by Quinoa198410 / 10

tough and raw and real and just a little strange, like a PS Cassavetes project

Perhaps it's no accident that Sean Penn would later go on to star in She's So Lovely, a film written by John Cassavetes and directed years after his death by his son, Nick. From just the looks of The Indian Runner (not least of which the dedication to John),Penn is a fan. It's not so much in the camera style, as he's rarely if ever taking a hand-held approach to things or letting his cinematographer be as deliberately all over the place as Cassavetes would allow. But emotionally, it's like a wound slowly opening to reveal itself after the initial shock of glancing at it. It's about two brothers with distinctly different paths in life, but who love each other (at least one clearly does) and can't stand to see how things have gotten so bad. And somehow that Indian Runner, a symbol of a weird kind of pure freedom, is always somewhere around.

It's not about plot in any stretch but about characters, plain and simple. With great characters comes everything else that's needed, and here Penn scores as good as he ever has had in his short but rewarding career as director (this goes up there with the underrated The Pledge). We see this story unfold of Frankie and Joe, played by Viggo Mortensen and David Morse, one is a Vietnam vet with nothing to win or lose (until he meets a girlfriend, Patricia Arquette plays her),and the other is a cop happily married with a kid. When Frankie gets in trouble with the law repeatedly- and the two brothers' parents die over a period of time- they try and regroup together back in their hometown.

Things have a funny way of not quite working out though for Frank, a loose cannon who ultimately blames the world for his problems. Of course, Vietnam could be enough, but it's never that simple to peg (one thinks looking at their brotherhood that Frank has been this way before, only now it's amplified),and it adds a level of psychotic complexity that, again, calls back to Cassavetes. What is it to be afraid of life, or ready to risk it all, are some questions Penn seriously poses (and leaves open for some answer)? And how does death haunt you if it's close and personal. The opening scene of Joe chasing after a guy and killing him after the other guy shot first, is a key one: he is justified in shooting him, but it's not an easy thing to live with killing another person. Joe knows it, and whether Frank did know it is open to interpretation. But one thing is for certain, which is that walking a fine line between peace and anger is a tough one for Frankie, and Joe has little to do but sit back and watch it unfold.

Penn takes care writing all of these characters, not just the two principles but also supporting players like those played by Valeria Golino and, in his last serious part, Charles Bronson (sans beard) as the father, who is shook to the core after the death of his wife. Hell, even bit players get some quality screen time, as one scene with a woman sort of pestering Joe at his work about being available to listen if he needs it, or Dennis Hopper's two brief scenes as a bartender. All of the characters, and subsequently the actors, are given something to do, scene after scene, even if it's something we don't look forward to like Arquette's character screaming every other scene (she probably has the least depth of any character, but then not given much to do aside from being a stay-at-home to-be-mom watching her love go down the tubes mentally).

Not every directorial choice made by Penn works, such as the cutaway to the actual 'birth' going on in the climax of the film, but enough are really strong to make it a must-see. It's really his gift in handling actors- even a lessor work like The Crossing Guard has its moments with its players- and here Mortensen is the one that gets to shine completely. Morse gives as good as he can, and it's a performance I won't forget, but Viggo is giving a De Niro Mean Streets kind of turn here, a completely honest and tortured performance of a man who doesn't quite know who he is, but he knows what he isn't which is at peace with himself. It's a sad, awesome portrayal that is as unforgettable as anything he's done in recent memory, Cronenberg films included.

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