Unfortunately, its wobbly and preachy dramatic narrative diminishes its power. We're getting a lecture here in skimpy dramatic clothing. The most powerful social statements in dramatic film, of course, are those that seek to entertain first without showing their editorial seams; "In the Heat of the Night," is a glowing example.
This well-meaning and intelligent Sundance entrant lacks the storytelling finesse to do this woeful historical injustice the wider appeal it deserves.
Director Willmott deserves commendation for assembling such a wide-span story on an obviously limited budget; however, the monotony of his shot compositions, stiff cadence and tedious pacing detract from the film's message. Occasionally, there are John Ford homages with skyscapes and silhouettes, but ultimately this one is just too much by-the-book, aesthetically and thematically.
I've posted a few glowing reports about this movie. Some people may have confused "important subject matter" with "compelling storytelling."
It's too bad filmmakers don't pass their scripts by me before they film them. We'd have better Native-themed movies if they did. <g>
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.