Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Not Buried Very Deep

Alliance Atlantis
Duration: 130min
Category: Western
Available: On DVD
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There are moments in this film that are quite powerful, however the scope of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is far too great for this project. There just isnít enough time to do all that this film wants to do. We get a hint of some very powerful film making but itís lost a bit in the rest that is squeezed in.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee attempts to tell a grand story of the Sioux (as stand ins for the entire North American aboriginal community) and their downfall in the face of manifest destiny. It includes the stories of Sitting Bull, Charles Eastman, Senator Dawes and even throws in bits on Crazy Horse and Custer. There is just too much going on and film never really gets a grip on any of it.

However, somewhere in there, there are moments when the film becomes quite interesting. This is a powerful legacy and there are many great stories to be told. It would have been better if the film makers had focused on just one at a time and allowed us to get really into it.

Still, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee succeeds in one thing. It makes a strong and case for remembering that the failure of North American governments to live up to their agreements is a crime of the highest level and that the native people of this continent did not enter the union (or confederation on this side of the boarder) in the same manner as everyone else and that is why this struggle continues.

The film does compare, briefly, the Canadian (re British) approach to dealing with the natives to the American in a manner that is probably a bit generous to the Canucks. This is probably due to the shorthand approach that the film makers have taken. There just isnít the time to get into the complexities.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee also succeeds in showing that lead actor, Adam Beach isnít as bad as he seemed in Flags of our Fathers where he was a wooden mess. Here he has a few shining momentsÖ although he has somewhat wooden moments too.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee feels a little too much like a history lesson and a little to little like the powerful story it should be. Still, there are beautiful and saddening moments that make it worth checking out.

Review By: Collin Smith

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