Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee might suck

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West” (Dee Brown)

A wholly unsympathetic review of the revisionist made-for-white-man's television faux documentary, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Oh well, at least Dee Brown is dead and won't be mortified at the crap version of his people's history.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - TV - Review - New York Times :
Oh no, oh no, oh no. “Setting the Indian on the course to civilization best ensures his survival,” says President Ulysses S. Grant (Fred Thompson!), expositorily, on HBO on Sunday night. Gag. “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is going to be an allegory for Iraq!

This project was doomed to overreach and to sermonize. To begin with, it’s about American Indians, who ever since Sacheen Littlefeather declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar in 1973 have scared the chutzpah out of Hollywood, forcing the showoffs who invented westerns into defensive crouches and sorry offerings that look more like cut-and-paste Sunday school atonement projects than filmmaking.Second, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is a television movie. The red carpet premiere and credible stars (Aidan Quinn, Anna Paquin) that HBO supplied can’t conceal that this is a movie of the week — a form as eternal, indigenous and sacrosanct as the Black Hills of South Dakota. Simple-minded, blocky, smug, uplifting, always in a major key. Easy to sing along with.
But this is trivia. The real problem with “Bury My Heart” is that it’s a movie. In the twisted and complex “Deadwood” Mr. Milch created a serialized masterwork to rival Dickens’s. He and the other HBO series auteurs have so far outstripped moviemakers in creating morally ambiguous epics that this meager entry, “based on Dee Brown’s best seller,” seems, apart from its cinematic glamour, provincial, amateurish — high school stuff.

So prepared are you — by the subject matter, by the insistently maudlin soundtrack, by the overly telegraphed performances — for a primer in how to feel good and bad that it’s almost a surprise to hear the handful of swear words in “Bury My Heart” and be reminded that this is HBO, home of moral shadows.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on May 25, 2007 11:22 AM.

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