Skins (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Skins (2002)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

Skins Videos

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

Cast

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
Show More Cast

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.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Rather quickly, the film falls into a soothing formula of brotherly conflict and reconciliation.

Full Review… | December 13, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

To see this movie is to understand why the faces on Mount Rushmore are so painful and galling to the first Americans.

Full Review… | October 18, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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.

October 11, 2002
Detroit News
Top Critic

What makes Skins compelling is how it opens our eyes to conditions on the reservation.

Full Review… | October 11, 2002
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Skins

has an almost doc like quality i really liked this sophmore effort from the guy who made 'smoke signals'

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

Life on the Reservation seems worse than any impoverished place in the U.S. because of the added burden of historical suffering -- its deliberate stain, forever wet, continues to saturate the daily existence of even the young. Contemporary captivity of American Indians still persists -- on the Rez and in the bottle. Pain is only tempered with humor, love and hope. So very worth watching.

Kim Tapio-Nuzzo
Kim Tapio-Nuzzo

An emotional look at native American life. Although the acting is subpar, the film is both hilarious and powerful. Chris Eyers' films are always great to watch. Not as good as Smoke Signals but very good in many different ways.

Ben Eastman
Ben Eastman

Skins Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Skins on our Movie forum!

News & Features