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Dvd: Black Cloud

I saw this movie last night at the Nashville Film Festival. It was a surprisingly good movie. Young Lakota actor, Eddie Spears, does an excellent job with the lead as “Black Cloud.” Russell Means, his boxing mentor “Bud”, is wonderful. This movie evokes obvious parallels to the original “Rocky” but has a lot more depth regarding the young man’s personal demons and his place within his Native American heritage and the problems of the modern reservation.

The movie is romantic, inspiring, funny and sad and delivers many truths about reservation life and the challenges of Indians who want to rise above the difficulties they face. Rick Schroder’s screenplay is very good.

Steve Gainer’s cinematography is stunning. There are some wonderful scenes of horses and the outdoor beauty of the Navajo Reservation.

Julia Jones, as Sammi, is convincing and a real cutie.

Country singer Tim McGraw debuts in this film as the Sheriff. He is good in the role.

Some of McGraw’s songs are in the movie and, one is delivered very humorously in a Karaoke scene. The end credits roll behind Pat Green’s “Wave on Wave.”

Schroder is a “bad guy” in this movie and did a convincing job. He revealed he stepped into that role at the last minute because the original choice for the part was a rodeo cowboy with no experience who apparently “froze” when they were trying to shoot his parts.

The acting is quite good even though many of the actors are young and unknown to most audiences.

Rick Schroder was present at the screening I saw. He and Eddie Spears, Julia Jones and Director of Photography Steve Gainer graciously answered questions from the audience following the screening. They all showed considerable class and humility. I was very glad to have been to see the movie and heard the principals discuss their roles more in depth.

Schroder mentioned this movie was made for about a million dollars which is ridiculously low by Hollywood standards. The high quality of the finished movie does not reflect its modest budget and Schroder says that is because it was a labor of love by the participants. It is obvious he is right.

I highly recommend this movie.

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