Alcoholism and The Victims

I feel that this story could easily be altered to fit other marginalized groups of people, although the ending has more the mark of a Native American statement. People who feel abandoned by society may turn to alcohol for comfort. It can be perpetuated especially through genetics. The pressing issue is that a number of people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and no doubt in other regions of the United States do not see any future for themselves. Perhaps lack of jobs, role models, and/or opportunities just casts such depression in people that they turn to alcoholism to escape their mundane lives for a while. As this movie points out subtly, alcoholism may not be the real disease but just a symptom of something larger.

The movie focuses on two brothers. Rudy, the younger brother, is a tribal police officer who wants to save his tribe from the evils of the world. Mogie, his older brother, has followed a little in his father’s footsteps and has traveled the path of alcohol. The Native American community seems to just see Mogie as a drunk and that’s just the way he is going to be. The movie hints that perhaps on border towns along the reservations feed on the vulnerabilities of drunks like Mogie by continuing to sell alcohol. Alcohol is a drug and thus it leads back to the debate about whether the problems of drug usage are a supply problem or a demand problem. Where does the responsibility lie? The answer is complex. It is a bit of both. Mogie is susceptible to drinking biologically, and he has always chosen to drink, but the reservation does not offer alternatives or hope for a better life. It might have made an interesting point to show more of the reservation other then that boys play football and that everything is run down.

I am not sure if it is the tempo of the movie or the writing, but the pace of the movie is SO slow that I was tempted not to give this movie a six rating. The performance of Eric Schweig as Rudy is so touching and so true to life that I could not just sit by with a mediocre score. The interesting thread of the trickster spirit hanging around the little brother is amusing and I suppose it is what adds that touch of color to the story. The problem of the story is that it lacks insight or flair enough to be considered a great movie. Perhaps with a quicker pace, it might have been great, but as is it seems to linger.

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