Rez Bomb is set on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation and within what is probably the poorest and most deprived community in the United States of America. It is part thriller and part love story between an affluent white drop-out and a poor Lakota girl. The action revolves around Scott (Trent Ford). He and his girlfriend Harmony (Tamara Feldman) borrowed money from a loan shark in order to scam a poker game. The scam was discovered and they fled. Separated during the escape, Scott stole a van, the rez bomb from the film’s title, and was arrested for car theft. Six weeks later he gets out of prison, Harmony is missing and the interest on the loan has been racking up. Scott has to find Harmony and raise the money to pay the loan while running from the loan shark, Jaws (Chris Robinson).
This film has a degree of tension that few manage to achieve. You feel that Scott and Harmony are in constant physical danger. The film flicks between the danger of the present situation and flashbacks of the start of their relationship. This keeps both the threat to the couple and the intensity of a new relationship at the centre of the film. Counterpointing the couple’s rapidly worsening situation with scenes of relaxation keeps the film from being grim.
The chronology and tone of the scenes are tracked with changes in the colour balance and exposure of the picture. Apart from affecting the mood of the scenes this allows you to keep track of the evolving plot. Trent Ford and Tamara Feldman both put in compelling performances in the lead roles. Most of the smaller parts are played by untrained first time actors from whom the director (Steven Lewis Simpson) elicits good performances. Of particular note is Arlette Loud Hawk, who plays Harmony’s mother.
Rez Bomb is the first film I have seen that does not portray Native Americans in terms of stereotype. They are shown as people, not alcoholics or old mystics in touch with the earth. It shows Pine Ridge as a community full of life and humour rather than one wallowing in its misfortune. The story told by Rez Bomb could have been set in any poor community. It is not tied to the ethnicity of the reservation like most other portrayals of Native American life. In fact the original script had its setting in Edinburgh.
I would really recommend you go and see this film, but unfortunately it doesn’t yet have distribution in the UK. Check back here for updates on that front.
- HERALD NEWSPAPER ON STORY BEHIND REZ BOMB
- ANOTHER PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION MOVIE?