Rated: R For violence. Reviewed by: Frank and Chris Release date: April 3, 1992 Released by: Columbia TriStar
Raymond Levoi (Val Kimer), a bright young to-the-letter FBI agent, is chosen to investigate the murder of an Oglala Sioux in the Badlands of South Dakota. He has been chosen because he is one-fourth American Indian. His native American heritage (from his father) is suppressed deep in his mind and he considers himself an American, period. Levoi's assignment on an Indian reservation brings him in contact with danger, abuse, a plot to exploit the native Americans' land and the mysticism of his ancestors' ancient culture.
Director Michael Apted (Class Action) mixes the murder investigation with a clear statement. The American Indians are treated with brutality by their own guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOON) lead by Jack Milton (Fed Ward) and the drawing of Levoi slowly but surely into his past heritage. Walter Crow Horse (Graham Greene) leads Levoi to pieces of evidence that make him question his FBI partner Frank "Cooch" Coutelle (Sam Shepard).
On the surface, Thunderheart is a murder mystery and a conspiracy, but the mystery and conspiracy are vehicles for the restoration of Levoi to his roots. With the Bas Lands as a backdrop sweeping in color change and dreams creeping into Levoi's mind, the mystic life of American Indians and the meaning of Thunderheart are the true adventure which he must face and survive.
This is a film which will hold your interest in both mysteries; it is weeping in scope, compelling and filled with danger which you will feel throughout its 118 minutes.