The amateur actors, many of whom in reality met sad ends on those same streets, are utterly convincing. You have the sense again and again that you've unearthed a time capsule -- a sensation that cinema alone of all the arts can impart.
Mackenzie imposes no obvious attitude or mediating outsider's perspective on the material; he just presents it to us, a snapshot of an otherwise unknown culture, with details specific to its time and place.
Rife with astonishing black-and-white images of an unknown L.A. and clashing sounds of bars, cinemas and poker games, The Exiles is one of those movies that functions as both artifact and fresh discovery.
A cinéma vérité look at the rootless Native American community that once upon a time lived in Bunker Hill and hung out in downtown bars such as Club Ritz, this Kent Mackenzie film is a brooding picture of a darkly beautiful, long-gone Los Angeles.