Director Chris Eyre's follow-up to his highly promising 1998 debut feature, "Smoke Signals," gives us more of his unique view of modern Native American life - deeply sad but laced with acid humor. Based on Adrian Louis' novel, it's the tragicomic tale of two warring Sioux brothers on the Pine Ridge reservation near Mt. Rushmore: local cop turned secret enforcer Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig) and his older brother Mogie (Graham Greene), a sports hero and Vietnam vet turned alcoholic -and unwitting victim of Rudy's vigilantism.
It's not a completely successful film, but it's a moving, honest, well-acted one, and it connects with contemporary American reality in ways most current movies don't. Calmly but stingingly, the movie details the dehumanizing conditions of the reservations. And, dark as it is, the humor makes it work, especially Greene's typically witty and compassionate portrayal of Mogie.
2 1/2 stars (out of 4)
Running time: 1:27. MPAA rating: R (for language and violence).
Michael Wilmington is the Chicago Tribune Movie Critic.