Critics Consensus

Though at times melodramatic, Skins' harsh depiction of life on the reservation is an eye-opener.



Total Count: 58


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,260
User image

Skins Photos

Movie Info

One hundred years after the massacre at Wounded Knee, the painful legacy of the Indian wars still reverberates through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the Oglala Sioux attempt to preserve their ancient dignity while living on welfare checks and surplus commodity food. Whiteclay, Nebraska, is a small town two miles south of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Their annual beer sales exceed 3.5. million per annum. More than 95% of those sales are to Lakota people from the Pine Ridge Reservation. For Rudy Yellow Lodge, the ramifications are clearly visible in the unemployment, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse he confronts as a criminal investigator with the Pine Ridge Police Department. Rudy's job is to protect the inhabitants of the "rez" from themselves; he spends most nights locking up drunk and disorderly Indians, which frequently includes his alcoholic brother Mogie. Before long, Rudy finds himself taking the law into his own hands, disguised with black shoe polish and a stocking over his head. Rudy's alter ego is a vigilante bent on dispensing swift justice. Rudy's trail of vengeances ends tragically when he unwittingly injures Mogie while retaliating against the multi-million dollar liquor business generated in the tiny border town of Whiteclay. Ironically, Rudy and Mogie achieve some measures of redemption through this tragic mistake. As Mogie recuperates in the hospital, the brothers lay bare some of the darker, unspoken events of their past, and in so doing, begin the process of mending their fractured relationship. When Mogie succumbs to cirrhosis of the liver a few weeks later, Rudy travels to Mount Rushmore to honor his big brother, as well as his people, with final, liberating act of defiance.

Watch it now


Eric Schweig
as Rudy Yellow Lodge
Gary Farmer
as Verdell
Noah Watts
as Herbie
Lois Red Elk
as Aunt Helen
Nathaniel Arcand
as Teen Mogie
Chaske Spencer
as Teen Rudy
Elaine Miles
as Rondella
Wilda Asimont
as Neighbor
David Bald Eagle
as Old Soldier
Bruce Bennett
as Medical Examiner
Robert A. Bennett
as Officer Comes Running
Gil Birmingham
as Sonny Yellow Lodge
Joe Black Elk
as Drill Team Member No. 1
Kato Buss
as ER Doctor
Jenny Cheng
as Anchorwoman
Tokala Clifford
as Black Lodge Boy
Dale Cooks
as Young Stork
Lightning Jr.
as Young Stork
Larry Dean Fuss
as FBI Agent
Leonard George
as Captain Eagleman
James Hatzell
as Hardware Clerk
Jacob Hjorten
as Liquor Store Clerk
Gansler Janis
as Drill Team Member No. 2
Tina Keeper
as Dr. Fitzgerald
Zahn McClarnon
as Elton Blue Cloud
Renae Morriseau
as Evangeline Yellow Lodge
Dillon Nelson
as Young Mogie
Canku One Star
as Young Rudy
Yellow Pony Pettibone
as Corky Red Tail
Myrton Running Wolf
as Ed Little Bald Eagle
Michael Spears
as Mr. Green Laces
Larry Swalley
as Shift Commander
Misty Upham
as Mrs. Blue Cloud
Markus J. Volimas
as Wally Roubaix
Charles White Elk
as Drill Team Member No. 3
Lisa White Face
as Wallina Four Strikes
View All

Critic Reviews for Skins

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (22)

  • Skins is a wrenching, uncompromisingly bleak film, but its stars ... fill the screen with warmth, humor and spiritual yearning in the face of hardship and tragedy.

    Dec 13, 2002 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
    Los Angeles Times
    Top Critic
  • Rather quickly, the film falls into a soothing formula of brotherly conflict and reconciliation.

    Dec 13, 2002 | Full Review…
  • It's a haunting indictment of a situation that has by and large been swept under the rug by Americans -- a stirring look at one man's impotent rage.

    Nov 7, 2002 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • To see this movie is to understand why the faces on Mount Rushmore are so painful and galling to the first Americans.

    Oct 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Although mainstream American movies tend to exploit the familiar, every once in a while a film arrives from the margin that gives viewers a chance to learn, to grow, to travel.

    Oct 11, 2002 | Rating: 3/4
  • What makes Skins compelling is how it opens our eyes to conditions on the reservation.

    Oct 11, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Skins

  • May 25, 2007
    This is one the wife picked and I had no idea what we were getting into. Ultimately, the film is a brutal look at the realities of life, or what passes for life, on a Lakota reservation. As always, Graham Greene is excellent!
    Moe E Super Reviewer

Skins Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features