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Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves

This was my first time seeing this movie, along with Schindler's List, probably the biggest movie I hadn't seen up to this point. I was never that interested in it before, even though I really knew nothing about it. I was just going by the impression that I had of what it might be. I don't know how much I would have enjoyed it 27 years ago, but my taste has definitely expanded since then. Just in the last couple years I have become much more fond of Westerns. I was always curious of it since it beat my beloved Goodfellas for the best picture Oscar. I still don't think this should have won, but in another year, sure.

It started out a little shaky for me. Even though I didn't exactly dislike what I was seeing, I thought the beginning went a little overboard trying to be dramatic. In fact, I think much of the movie was sappy and cliched. In that way, it somewhat reminded me of Hacksaw Ridge, which I recently saw. Those are words that most people probably use in a negative fashion, but they're characteristics that I usually don't mind at all. I always thought that this movie would perhaps be dull, but I was never once bored despite it's substantial runtime.

Portraying the white man as bad and the Indians as good is nothing new. I'd say that a lot of 50's Westerns started going that route after it being the other way around for the vast majority of movies beforehand. I believe there was good and bad on both sides, although portraying the Indians as good feels more just to me. Most of this movie is sweet and good natured, and I think the viewer gets lulled into a certain comfort before some of the major conflict comes, making it all the more effective. I checked afterward to see if this was on the top 100 cheers list, and sure enough it is. It's just that kind of movie.

Kevin Costner is perfect in the lead role. I've never thought of him as a great actor, but I've always thought he was one of the most likable actors I have ever watched. His likability transfers to the character seamlessly. I don't know what happened to him. He seemed to go from A list to B list overnight. His direction is spectacular, with beautiful scenery and camerawork throughout. There is very little humor, but it works when it comes. The musical score is an asset. In the end, I think it's a very well made and rousingly entertaining film. I'm so glad it was nominated, or else who knows when I would have finally seen it.