BLACK CLOUD: DVD
When Eddie Young (Rick Shroder), a gritty rodeo circuit cowboy, tries to reclaim the beautiful Sammi Haskie (Julia Jones) with whom he has a son, her boyfriend, the angry young Black Cloud (Eddie Spears), intervenes. A fight ensues and Black Cloud savagely beats Eddie. Sheriff Powers (Tim McGraw) comes after Black Cloud on the Navajo reservation in Arizona where he lives, but is blocked by Bud (Russell Means), Black Cloud's mentor and coach and the reservation's Lieutenant Yazzi (Gerald Valdever). The Sheriff bides their time. Meanwhile, Olympic boxing scout, Norm Olsen (Peter Greene), who had witnessed Black Cloud destroying opponents in a Golden Gloves Boxing tournament, offers the fighter an opportunity to fight his way on to the Olympic Boxing Team. Black Cloud defiantly declines, willing to fight only for his homeland, the Navajo Nation.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Although the trajectory of young fighter succeeding against the odds - and against himself - is familiar, Black Cloud is an engaging and entertaining story about a young Navajo burdened by demons about his single white ancestor, and has a chip on his shoulder as big as Arizona itself, the striking land where it was shot. Eddie Spears makes a fiery Black Cloud, and his permanent sneer is in fact a fascial characteristic; it gives way (rarely) to a dazzling smile.
Julia Jones is terrific and moving as his gorgeous girl Sammi, and Russell Means is marvellous as his coach and mentor, Bud. But it's writer/director Rick Shroder who has cast himself as the bad boy, Eddie, who goes to prove the old adage about not judging a book by its cover, especially when it comes to humans. The young actor (NYPD Blue) turned director, distinguishes himself with this feature debut, wrangling the story with clarity and energy. Black Cloud has to go through a journey of self discovery and maturity, and here, Shroder takes the risky step (for a white man) of calling on Navajo spirituality - and he pulls it off with sensitivity and style.
The boxing is minimal, but enough, and especially the climactic championship fight, which is punchy (ouch!).
Published January 29, 2009
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BLACK CLOUD: DVD (M)
CAST: Eddie Spears, Russell Means, Julia Jones, Rick Shroder, Tim McGraw, Peter Greene, Pooch Hall, Nathaniel Arcand, Wayne Knight, Saginaw Grant, Tim Sampson, Naseen King Adadevoh, Gerald Valdever.
PRODUCER: David Moore, Andrea Shroder, Karen Beninati
DIRECTOR: Rick Shroder
SCRIPT: Rick Shroder
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steve Gainer
EDITOR: Geraud Brisson, Ed Marx
MUSIC: Chad Fischer, John Nordstrom
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Damon Fortier
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Peacock Films
DVD RELEASE: October 8, 2008