Reel Injun (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Reel Injun (2010)

Reel Injun



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Native American and Aboriginal peoples have long played a part in Hollywood filmmaking, but the picture presented of them was not always flattering or accurate. Most westerns of Hollywood's Golden Age presented "Indians" as either ruthless savages with no sense of honor or fools who were lost without the help of the white man. (Adding insult to injury, they were usually played by white actors in make up.) However, as issues of Native American rights came to the forefront in the 1960s, more filmmakers stepped forward to offer a more positive and thoughtful portrayal of Aboriginal characters on screen, and Native American performers were given a greater opportunity to present the story of their people in television and the movies. Director Neil Diamond (a member of Canada's Cree community) offers a look at the past, present and future of Native People on the big screen in the documentary Reel Injun, which includes interviews with actors Adam Beach, Graham Greene and Sacheen Littlefeather, filmmakers Chris Eyre and Zacharias Kunuk, and artists and activists John Trudell and Russell Means; Clint Eastwood and Jim Jarmusch also speak about Hollywood's history and their own experiences in presenting Native Americans in their films. Produced in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, Real Injun was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Catherine Bainbridge, Neil Diamond
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 29, 2011
LionsGate Entertainment


Clint Eastwood
as Interviewee
Jim Jarmusch
as Interviewee
Graham Greene (II)
as Interviewee
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News & Interviews for Reel Injun

Critic Reviews for Reel Injun

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (6)

Reel Injun is not a peace pipe but a convincing case for a place at the table.

Full Review… | June 25, 2010
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Setting off in his barely road-worthy "rez car," Mr. Diamond films a series of bittersweet, and sometimes bitingly funny, encounters.

Full Review… | June 18, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic

Reel Injun will most likely give you a new perspective the next time you watch John Wayne battle Native Americans.

Full Review… | June 11, 2010
New York Post
Top Critic

Both the talking-head interviews and montages trace distortions and puncture myths with professional rigor.

Full Review… | June 9, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Combining a road trip from his native Arctic reservation to Los Angeles with an archival cinematic survey, Diamond's treatment of each is perfunctory to the point of inutility.

Full Review… | June 8, 2010
Village Voice
Top Critic

Entertaining and informative.

Full Review… | February 19, 2010
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Reel Injun


Director Neil Diamond explores the portrayal of Native Americans throughout the history of American cinema, exposing the racist stereotypes that films have perpetuated.
it's hard for me to review this film. I think that I, along with most of the rest of modern American culture, am trained to pick at the negative with an almost knee-jerk quickness so that when I find a film with which I agree so heartily, I have little to say. Diamond's analysis is spot-on. Yes, the vast majority of John Wayne westerns are racist. Yes, Disney's Pocahontas is infantile and racist. Yes, Natives in film are either pre-modern savages or pre-modern hippies who have to make way, usually through their gruesome demise, for "civilization." Yes, yes, yes. The film lauds Native cinema by Natives, and it contextualizes Marlon Brando's public refusal of his Oscar to raise awareness of Native rights.
The half-star off is because even though the academic analysis of American film is great, the road-trip story is half-baked and doesn't provide the through-line for the film that Diamond intended.
Overall, Reel Injun is a fantastic analysis of Natives in film, and it should be required viewing in any film school.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


An eye opening and thought provoking investigation into the evolution of Native American portrayals in film. Director Neil Diamond examines contemporary projects and revisits a few old classics on his way to exposing racial stereotypes and blowing up long held misconceptions about Aboriginal culture.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


Interesting documentary following the history of the portrayal of Native Americans in US pop culture and film history. With a lot of interesting historical and details, humor and interviews with people who know what they're talking about.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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