Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. This is a film about anger, shame and helplessness, and it offers no answers, merely hard questions and angry challenges.
  2. A wrenching, uncompromisingly bleak film, but its stars, who include talented newcomer Noah Watts as Mogie's son and Lois Red Elk as the brothers' staunch aunt, fill the screen with warmth, humor and spiritual yearning in the face of hardship and tragedy.
  3. 75
    To see this movie is to understand why the faces on Mount Rushmore are so painful and galling to the first Americans. The movie's final image is haunting.
  4. 75
    Has a desolate air, but Eyre, a Native American raised by white parents, manages to infuse the rocky path to sibling reconciliation with flashes of warmth and gentle humor.
  5. Graham Greene ("Dances With Wolves") in one of the year's best performances, he's a fully dimensional character: pathetic and shrewd, tragic and bitterly funny.
  6. 75
    Maybe the redemptions offered are simplistic in the context of this place, but they make for a dramatic (if heavily foreshadowed) conclusion.
  7. 70
    This first generation of Native American movie directors has already managed to make great strides: While prodding the collective conscience of the U.S. mainstream with their disturbing views of the reservation, they have also opened the door to a vibrant spirit world unknown to all but a few.
  8. As coherent storytelling, Skins isn't that tightly wrapped, but as an excoriating look at the plight of the modern American Indian, it bites hard.
  9. 70
    Greene delivers a wrenching performance, and like "Smoke Signals," the film ends with a cathartic, triumphant flourish.
  10. 70
    Serious stuff indeed, but the film is also rich with humor -- most of it courtesy of the always-excellent Greene -- and ends with an act of vandalism as shocking as it is exhilarating.
  11. Dark as it is, the humor makes it work, especially Greene's typically witty and compassionate portrayal of Mogie.
  12. Its strength is the documentary-textured depiction of Native Americans in their social environment. Its weakness is a story that's a patchy combination of soap opera, low-tech magic realism and, at times, ploddingly sociological commentary.
  13. 50
    Might have been better off as a documentary, with less of Mr. Eyre's uninspired dramatics and more of his sense of observation and outrage.
  14. The story gets off to a slow start after its riveting documentary-style introduction, but heartfelt acting and unexpected plot twists eventually give it solid dramatic impact.
  15. Eyre offers a merciless, affecting portrait of reservation life, but his relevant themes eventually wash away in a sea of unnecessary sentimentality.
  16. 50
    The sharpness of Eyre's opening, however, ebbs away when he takes up the story of Rudy (Eric Schweig) and Mogie (Graham Greene), two brothers with neatly opposed responses to the reservation grind.
  17. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Has a patched-together feel, and its aims as human drama, social documentary and vigilante movie are never quite reconciled.
  18. 30
    The supporting characters suffer from excruciating one dimensionality since none of them really have anything to do but look forlorn and opine about days past.
  19. 20
    Good intentions or not, ineptitude and cloying sentimentality don't do anybody any favors.

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