Film Scouts Reviews

"The Sunchaser"

by Lisa Nesselson

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May 19, 1996

You know you're in France when the audience breaks into applause at the name "Michael Cimino" in the opening credits. I happen to think that "The Deerhunter" is a warranted classic and that all three verions of "Heaven's Gate" are pretty interesting. "Sunchaser" is never less than watchable, but it's a mess. It's a mess that seems to have transported quite a few people who should know better. For starters on the miscalculation front, I admire Maurice Jarre to pieces, but his score for "Sunchaser" should be consigned to a teepee in the lost city of Atlantis as soon as possible. Dr. Michale Reynolds (Woody Harrelson) is treating 16-year-old half Navajo felon "Blue" Monroe for a rare form of cancer. Blud knows he's doomed, so he engineers an excape with the doc as a hostage. Their destination is a scared Indian mountain topped by a lake with healing powers. The two men, at first adversaries, become accomplices. The rigorous man of science learns to be more mystical and spontaneous. The Indian beomes one with the wisdom for which Native Americans are noted. A colleague dubbed this a "holistic road movie". I call it a New Age Western. Anne Bancroft does a dandy cameo as a harmonic convergence maven, but "Sunchaser" requires more suspension of disbelief than I can muster this late in the Festival.

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