Revisionist history has inspired the film with complete obscenities detailed description of execution style of two FBI agents. A film reviews the atrocious murder of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents at the Pine Ridge area in the Indian Reservation in 1975. John Trudell an American Indian representative and organizer show as Michael Apted’s Thunderheart playing a revolutionary, which is a prime suspect in the murders. In this movie, Mr. Trudell displays a fervent, angry spirit that is relevant to his role. He displays a shot where the man’s wife and children who are killed in a fire of unknown origin linked to his political outspokenness.
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The documentary gives a detailed explanation of violent events that resulted to the murder of the two FBI agents and the subsequent investigation that identified Mr. Leonard Peltier guilty of the killings. At first, it purports to depict a scenario granting convicted suspect Mr. Peltier innocent of the killings and in doing so it ignores pertinent information that could encourage other conclusions, indicating a bias in the documentary. The FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ron Williams pursued an armed robbery suspect into a reservation. Following was gunfire between the agents and American Indian activists that led to the killings of Coler and Williams. The investigations and manhunt resulted in the conviction of one AIM member who is now serving his sentence in Leavenworth prison. Since 1977, appeals to provide new trials for the victim have been declined by the courts, which currently mount to a total of four. According to Judge Gerald W. Heaney of the US Court of Appeal, the decision would generate troubles to him, and that the FBI did not work within the law in conducting investigations following the incidence. The FBI failed to recognize the defendant’s an application to be informed during the investigations. In defending the action, Mr. Thomas F. Jones who served as FBI’s Chief spokesman argued that a jury of judges tried Mr. Peltier, supporting the action taken by US Supreme Court rejecting arguments that the trial was not fair and just.
Apted fictionalized a similar statement in his film Thunderheart starred by Val Kilmer that came out the same year. However, the film presents a thoughtful and more of a political shrewdness than the Thunderheart. It represents a closer relationship to 7-up series in its innovation and presentation though, not so close. The stories relevance takes the movie beyond it's technical or directorial flaws, which can be demonstrated as a lack of feels for the daily life on the reservation.
The documentary does not exclusively reveal to the gaping holes in the charges made against Mr. Peltier who has so far served 16th year in prison with a continued effort to petition the court ruling for a new trial. This piece of art provides some insight into the different occurrences depicted by the documentary and dramatic formats explored and well presented by the desirable skills of Mr. Apted. It unfolds in a stark and arid style and in some cases use visual representations of critical evidence in a style similar to the thin Blue line. Mr. Robert Redford who narrates the documentary and is the executive producer, strives to offer a scene that brings a sense in the conflicting testimony of the numerous and assorted figures in the case, and shift the focus to the dominant theme surrounding the murders. The narrative and setup can easily convince the eyes that Mr. Peltier did not commit the murder, but this is not clearly captured in the stage as it fails to point out that the suspects chased by the agents stopped their vehicle in an open field to exchange fire. About 125 shots from high-powered rifles riddled the agent’s car shown to arise from a nearby plateau. The offender was also a wanted man for an attempted murder in Milwaukee, even though he pleaded innocent; he refused to identify the perpetrators whom he claimed to know. The review, therefore, must be based on an open mind without any inclination.
The documentary illustrates the outstanding achievement ahead of hindering obstacles, incendiary subject, and mistrust from the Indian leaders, weak or suspicious Federal agents and difficult times getting to question the convict which took six months to be granted access. Redford’s passion to make the movie made him use a different approach not shared with Hollywood movies. He individually criticized the Hollywood culture of adopting a fashionable cause such as covering the environment in one day, and the Indian rights the next day and later drops it for another cause. His film focused on the justice of trial without the central domain of guilt or innocence. This is because of the nature of the case, which is murky, and in closer review, it is as if Mr. Redford wanted to make a feature film resembling that of Japanese Classic Rashomon, covering the subjective nature of truth even though it resulted to being far from it. The 1980’s saw Redford’s meet with Matthiessen, which sparked his interest in the case. Mr.Matthiessen had written a book touching on the events of the Pine Ridge development. Before this, Redford had competed a film on prison reform, which correlated with the imprisonment of Peltier’s who according to Mr. Matthiessen, was in danger, in jail.
The challenge of this film is in its subversive class comprised on dubious Indian leaders, mysterious FBI agents, government lawyers that appear the last moments and the long period of negotiations required before Peltier could be interviewed.
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