Dances With Wolves

It's Kevin Costmer's Titanic, from a time when he could do no wrong in Hollywood and the world was just starting to fall in love with him - back before he became obsessed with soppy sports movies and became more famous for huge failures like The Postman than his (still considerable) talents.

At nearly four hours, it's quite a commitment, but despite many solitary shots of Kevin, he keeps things running along at enough of a pace so it doesn't turn into a navel-gazing art film.

The story of John Dunbar, unlikely hero of the Civil war who requests that he be sent to the furthest reaches of the frontier. There he mans an abandoned military post and waits for months for his relief to arrive before it's apparent to him none is coming (which we know thanks to being shown the suicide of the mad staff sergeant who authorised his transfer).

He makes friends with a solitary wolf who comes to visit him regularly, and slowly moves from a position of uneasy trust to full acceptance of the local Sioux Indians, to the point he leaves behind his former life to become one of them, now named Dances With Wolves.

After making friends with most of the tribe and falling in love and then marrying Stands With A Fist (McDonnell), a white girl who's lived with the Sioux her whole life, the story really kicks into high gear when he returns to his encampment one last time to collect his journal before leaving for the last time to join his new brethren in their winter camp in the mountains.

But the army have moved in in the meantime, take him for an Injun and take him prisoner, leaving it up to the warriors from his tribe to exact a daring rescue.

It's a good movie for showing what we can assume was the lot of the American indians before they were subjugated by the onslauhgt of white settlement as much as telling Dunbar's story, at times brutal, at times poetic, sometimes genuinely sad, but always with sweeping and majestic scenery and a directorial eye that got Costner the 1990 best Picture Oscar he deserved.

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