THE LAST OF THE DOGMEN
DIRECTOR:    TAB MURPHY
USA/CANADA 1995
CINEMATOGRAPHY:    KARL WALTER, LINDEN LAUB
MUSIC:    DAVID ARNOLD
CAST: Tom Berenger, Barbara Hershey, Kurt Wood Smith, Steve Reevis
ONE WORD: Where it was photographed.


There are a lot of films about Indians in the north Americas, but few of them deal with the isolated tribes, that may have gone that far simply to escape the wrath of the many white men that wiped many of their brothers and sisters over the last three to four hundred years.

THE LAST OF THE DOGMEN, appears to be an innocent enough film, that starts out with two jailed escapees disappearing into the mountain terrain, where, legends have become the norm, about people disappearing all the time when they enter the area.

And two prisoners escape into that wooded area. A down and out detective, who happens to know the country, finally gets trapped into doing one more job for the people he hates the most. They have destroyed his life, or at least a sad rivalry with a sheriff seems to have been the cause of the whole thing.

As the man enters the forbidden area, some things are found, and he is given to think that there is more to it all than the fear that the lands are haunted. He finds some Indian artifacts that he decides must mean something. And he goes after a professor who is studying these artifacts and making a living of exposing the Indian culture to the academic world. She is asked to join him in a journey to go into the wooded are. She finally consents to joining the man to take a journey to search for more Indian artifacts, and the missing men.

The journey is innocent enough until the detective realizes he is being followed. They are attacked, but he manages to stay alive, and maintain a sense of calm. His attackers are, at this time, an unknown tribe, that is believed to be extinct. And the story continues until a few things are resolved, including how the Indians are going to live and survive. It appears that they are strong willed enough that every time they feel threatened, they advance further into the forest, thus also extending their myth.

An accident forces the Indians and the man to develop a friendship, and eventually to help them stay alive and away from the white man one more day. And the couple have now decided they like each other and stay together.

What is a fine film, turns into a story that centers more on the welfare of the two characters who are doomed to have a love relationship thus diminishing the survival of the Indian culture.

While the film is not great by any means, it does have some nice touches and a fine sense of suspense and mood. All the shooting amidst the trees accentuates the mystery of the forest and these far off, isolated lands in Canada. But, unfortunately, it also fails to help the Indians make it in this century, without their vehement attitude of separatism and self defense. The Indian, by all that is seen here, is still a barbaric animal, albeit one that a couple of whites have come to like and live with. Although the lovers, essentially, have a disdain for the world they live in, the new life seems to provide an escape, and possibly a new hope. But the Indians, seem to be doomed to be chased and found, if not by an over eager academic group, by some not so well meaning sheriff. One gets the feeling that the Indians leaving the valley where they are for another place, may not stay there long, and will be chased, specially when we know that our hero made it there, despite the seemingly terrible odds....no one else has done it.?

Not a bad film, with some stock dialogue. The Indian stuff is ok, but not well developed, unfortunately.

3 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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