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Skins

4.6 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Police Office Rudy Yellow Lodge (Schweig) is tired of the poverty and alcoholism that has taken over his Indian reservation. Desperate to make a change, he takes the law into his own hands.

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A dark and moving tale of bitter helplessness turned to vigilante rage, Skins is the second feature film directed by Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals). As with the previous movie, Skins concerns two very different and determined protagonists who have grown up together: a cop, Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig), on the Lakota reservation's police force, and his older brother Mogie (Graham Greene), an unrepentant drunk. Frustrated by Mogie's self-destruction and outraged by rampant alcoholism throughout the rez (with the disease's concomitant social violence and general hell-raising at an all-time high), Rudy resorts to off-duty, anonymous jungle justice--beating suspects and torching a Nebraska border-town liquor store--with tragic consequences. Eyre's unflinching eye for reservation horrors and the exploitation of Indians is compelling; his compassion for characters grasping at hope is equally strong. Skins benefits mightily from Schweig and Greene's strong performances; in all, this is an underrated drama waiting for a real audience. --Tom Keogh

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Product Details

  • Actors: Eric Schweig, Graham Greene, Gary Farmer, Noah Watts, Lois Red Elk
  • Directors: Chris Eyre
  • Writers: Adrian C. Louis, Jennifer D. Lyne
  • Producers: Chris Eyre, Brenda J. Chambers, Chris Cooney, David Pomier, Eugene Mazzola
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Alchemy / Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2003
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000087F0X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,071 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Skins" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I just saw this film at the Native American Museum in New York during it's premiere in this city. It's an amazing film. Darker and more thought provoking than Smoke Signals, it still maintains the sense of humor so characteristic of Chris Eyre's work. The story takes place in Pine Ridge County, SD, which is, as we quickly learn from the film, the poorest county in the United States. It is also Oglala Lakota Indian reservation. The film is shot on location, with all the starkness of the surroundings carefully exposed. The narrative revolves around two brothers. Rudy (Eric Schweig) is a cop and a vigilante, who is using legal and extra-legal means to help his community. Moggy (Graham Greene) is a triple Purple Heart Vietnam veteran and a chronic alcoholic who tries to maintain a sense of humor in face of misery and depression. Deep love between the brothers serves as the backbone of the plot. Things get out of hand when Rudy's vigilantism causes Moggy's suffering. Chris Eyre employs both tragic and comic elements to give the film a fresh and unique dynamic. And a provocative ending.
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Native American director Chris Eyre has created another excellent film about life on the reservation, told from the Indian point of view. Other reviews here represent the content of the film well, its story line involving two brothers and its social commentary, exposing the impact of poverty and alcoholism on the Lakota Sioux descendants of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

The movie, however, provides only a partial view of the book it's based on by Indian writer, Adrian Louis. His novel, "Skins," has enough material for a 10-part miniseries. It immerses the reader in the deeper complexities of its subject matter, exploring the dimensions of its characters more thoroughly (and with darker humor) and conveying a great deal more about life on the reservation, with its compelling mix of Indian and white cultures and the resulting ambiguities, competing world views, and conflicted values. It is significant that Iktomi, the trickster spirit and shape-shifter, is a central theme in both novel and film, for appearance and reality, wisdom and stupidity, pride and shame, love and rage are all in a continuing dance for dominance.

Rudy, the Indian cop, portrays these confusing conflicts beautifully, representing both the law in his tribal police uniform and vigilante justice in his blackface and pantyhose mask. The author's book explores other dimensions of Rudy's confusion by letting us learn more about his relationships with women. In the novel he is married and estranged from his wife, and we follow the rocky ups and downs of his growing attraction to his cousin's wife, Stella, while he carries on with other men's wives as well.
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1 Comment 64 of 65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This 2002 film takes place on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota. It's a sad place, steeped in poverty and alcoholism. The camera brings us into the dilapidated homes and shows us the barren terrain. And the Director, Chris Eyre, has wisely chosen an all-Native cast. Don't be fooled by their Anglican sounding names. They're all Indians, either from America or Canada.
The story is about two brothers in their late forties. One is a cop and the other is a burnt-out alcoholic who sometimes thinks he's still in Vietnam. Flashbacks show their abusive childhood and their dependence on one another. The storyline shows us how Eric Schweig, cast as the cop brother, helps his brother over and over again. Graham Greene is cast as the alcoholic and even though we see him mostly drunk and creating chaos for everyone, get to know him as a real person with hopes and dreams and missteps along the way.
We learn about life on the reservation and the history of the massacre at Wounded Knee. And we also learn why the Mt. Rushmore carving of the four American presidents is so upsetting to the Indians who see rocks as sacred. As the story moves along, we see the cop brother become a vigilante and solve a murder investigation. Later, he sets a liquor store on fire. When his brother is burned in the fire, the story comes to a pivotal point and we get a glimpse of the unwavering love of the brothers for each other and the sense of family in the entire community.
This is a thoughtful movie that's a bit uncomfortable to watch. It left me sad and pensive. And yet it taught me something too. Recommended.
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Those are the word of my 78 year old grandmother who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Rez. This film reminds me of the place where I learned so much about my culture, and had so much fun with my cousins. This exploration into the community, should be seen by those who desire a glimpse into modern rez life. Wounded Knee happened only a little over a hundred years ago, and genocide did not end with the massacre. White Clay sets the example as this town is filthy rich, dependent on alcoholics for profit. They do not care how many Indians die, just like Lincoln did not care when he mass-hanged the Sioux. Carved into Paha Sapa, Mount Rushmore, is the ghosts of 4 presidents (including Ol' Abe) who face the east over the land of the Oglala Lakota. Some people see this as "mockery", would the Jewish appreciate a huge stone carving of Hitler staring down over Tel-Aviv? Each president has contributed more of less to exterminating the NDN. This movie will hopefully inspire some to see past their 9th grade politics class and learn more about multi-dimensions of U.S. History.
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