Monday, April 4, 2011

Vanilla Sky: "Against a Crooked Sky" (1975)

After his sister Charlotte is kidnapped by Indians, Sam decides to try to find her himself.

With promises of gold, he lures Russian (Richard Boone) along on the trip, and they head into the Utah desert, encountering hostile Apaches, and discovering what seems to be a lost tribe who enjoy their human sacrifices. Sam and Russian are captured, and Sam must pass an impossible endurance test to save his sister's life.

The main problem with this film is its general air of hokeyness. Boone tries to make his character so "colorful," that he overacts more than a room full of Gabby Hayes clones. His character is given a rather unglorious sendoff in the surprise finale, and he misses the big climax of the film. The rest of the cast tries, but the direction is very amateurish and the script is weak. Many scenes drag on forever, with characters repeating plot points again and again. The kidnapping tribe's origin and identity is never explained, and the one Native American who can speak English comes off like a robot version of Sacheen Littlefeather. The film also runs into the age old problem many action films run into. The journey to find Charlotte is so perilous, but the glossed-over return trip home seems to have gone without a hitch.

Watch for the very unconvincing day for night scenes and grainy stock footage scattered throughout. I cannot recommend "Against a Crooked Sky," although its heart seems to be in the right place. (* *) out of five stars.