Saturday, June 11, 2005

Cowboys vs. Indians vs. Time

Into The West a 6 week mini-series aired tonight, twice, and will repeat every few hours until you see it on TNT. It starts in 1825 Virginia with the Wheeler family building wheels. Meanwhile young White Feather a Lakota boy is getting a glimpse of the futture, and it's not good. Jacob Wheeler sees nothing but wheel making in his future so takes a midnight trip to the west. Wheeler takes an outward journey and grows into an honorable man. The young Lakota becomes a holy man and gets renamed Loved By The Buffalo his journey is inward and he's not even half way finished. Wheeler through chance marries into this Lakota tribe and feels his destiny is intertwined with theirs.
The story moves slow yet you have to keep your eye out for the actors because they are gone in a flash. Gary Busey lasted all but five minutes on screen. This Spielberg production is full of foreshadowing and omens it is told through narrative by Wheeler. The native landscape is grand yet gritty, the use of special effects is few but effective. One of the better scenes is when Josh Brolin's character is fighting a bear we see his scalp getting ripped off but not getting sewn back up.
To make it a more realistic view of the west they did not sugar coat everything. So far most of the bad deeds that happens on screen have been done by the Indians, the killing of animals is shown and the mistreatment of women and minorities overlooked. Many modern westerns fall into the honorable-Indians and evil-dirty-white-man roles, Into The West strikes a balance between that showing all sides did mostly what they believed was good and right but occasionly failing and doing the wrong thing.
Everyone has a sense of something big, bad and everlasting is coming but the side that it comes from is not clear.
Episode two airs June 17

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