Kevin Costner's 'Dancing' Directorial Debut
John Barry's score for the film is also amazing - it is one of Barry's personal bests and easily the best score of 1990. Barry is one of the finest film composers ever and the film benefits greatly from his beautiful and powerful contribution.
While Dances With Wolves is a high quality film in many different ways, I did have one major bone to pick....
The film's final act is frustrating in its incredibly unbelievable nature. When John Dunbar is taken by the American soldiers near the end of them, they all think that he is a Native American. WHAT? Are you kidding me? I am sorry, but Costner does not look like a Native American in the film - he, quite clearly, looks like a white guy dressed up as a Native American! Then the soldiers ask him, "Do you speak English?" to which Dunbar responds in perfect American English that makes it quite obvious that he has spoken it his entire life. And what do the soldiers do? They *still* think he is a Native American! Not until he says that he was an army captain and the commanding officer believes him do any of the soldiers think that he is a European-descended American! I find the whole situation absolutely ridiculous.
Naturally, the American soldiers (except for the commander officer, played by Charles Rocket), are all portrayed as slobbering, wild, evil schmucks. I suppose I should be getting used to it by now, but here is another Hollywood film that portrays American soldiers as horrible people. I am certain that the American army has had its share of perennial rank-and-file thugs throughout its history but I do not buy into this mass-portrayed Hollywood stereotype of the evil American foot soldier - not for one second!
****END OF SPOILERS****
Dances With Wolves remains a great film in my eyes despite any qualms I have. Kevin Costner's skillful direction and lead performance, the number of great supporting performances, and John Barry's unforgettable score make Dances With Wolves a must see western.
Still, if it were up to me, I would give the 1990 Best Picture Oscar to Miller's Crossing.
CBC Rating: 8/10