[box cover]

Smoke Signals

On the Coeur d'Alene indian reservation in Idaho, life floats by like a slow breeze. It's the sort of place where people still prefer to barter for their goods, and if you can't afford to have the "forward" gear of your car fixed, then hey, you simply drive around in reverse. But life here only looks slow and dreamy if you happen to live somewhere else. It's a rare tale that is able to bring together sentimentality, wistfulness, and absolution in such a way that it feels fresh and new, rather than old and reheated, but Smoke Signals is such a film. While it borders on heavy at times, the witty script from Sherman Alexie knows when to lighten the mood with humor, and the interplay between an odd-couple pair American Indians, Thomas and Victor, is priceless. The characters stay with us long after the film is over, as does the haunting climactic voice-over. An incredible debut from first-time director Chris Eyre, full of warmth, humor, and most of all, life. Beautiful widescreen transfer (1.85:1). Unfortunately, the disc contains little in the way of supplementary material, apart from a single trailer. Considering the historical significance of this film (it's the first movie ever made entirely be a Native American cast and crew), it's a pity that a commentary track with Eyre and Alexie was not included, as they could have provided some fascinating insight into the struggles they faced to make this film a reality.
—Joe Barlow

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