Bryan Oberle, Journal Star:
An uncompromising look at a national blight. Passionate
and steeped in American Indian mysticism, "Thunderheart"
is a modern and intellectually honest film.
Rita Kempley, Washington Post:
With the craggy drama of the Badlands for a
backdrop, the spectacularly intriguing mystery
"Thunderheart" captures not only the grandeur of the
wind-scraped canyon country, but its essential
godliness... Under the guidance of British-born director
Michael Apted, the actors fit into their ambiguous roles
as easily as canoes sliding into the water.
Mike Pearson, Daily Breeze:
Beyond the intricate scripting, "Thunderheart" works
because Apted has assembled a first-rate cast.
Shepard brings a sullen detachment to his role as an
FBI agent with a hidden agenda. Fred Ward, as the tribal
chief on one side of the struggle, is all smiles and
snake oil. And Kilmer captures Ray's increasing
ambivalence... The result is the best kind of
entertainment: A movie that latches on to your emotions
and takes you for a thrilling ride.
Joseph Gelmis, Newday:
"Thunderheart" is a thinking person's melodrama
about an FBI-run conspiracy against rebellious Native
Michael Sragow, New
The director, Michael Apted, elicits credible
performances from Shepard and Fred Ward, and
blends them confidently with the nonprofessionals in the
Bill Hunt, The
"Thunderheart" resonates with spirituality and
careful attention to detail regarding Lakota custom and
history. The script is deftly woven by screenwriter John
Fusco. The story unfolds carefully, maintaining an air
of mystery right to its satisfying conclusion... Kilmer
are Shepard are very good here, but it's Greene
who really steals the show.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
Kilmer and Shepard give strong performances....
The camera sweeps breathtakingly across the Badlands.
Janet Maslin, NY Times:
Conveyed with curiosity and intelligence....Apted is
a skillful storyteller.
Director Michael Apted carries the film off with
real panache. His affection for the cliches and details
of the seamless mystery-thriller makes the story
immensely entertaining, his takes on the badlands
landscape are spectacular, and he regularly inverts
Native stereotypes and treats Native mysticism with
sensitivity and seriousness... This is a passionate
movie that may well make a lot of complacent white folks
reconsider their misconceptions.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times:
What's most absorbing about "Thunderheart" is its
sense of place and time. Apted makes documentaries as
well as fiction films, and in such features as "Coal
Miner's Daughter" and "Gorillas in the Mist" and such
documentaries as "35 Up" he pays great attention to the
people themselves - not just what they do, and how that
pushes things along.