Never known to shy away from the plight of the Native American, director Chris Eyre is going through the paces again with his usual high melodramatic style of filmmaking. “Skins” is about reflection on ones past, finding solutions to current problems and finally redemption for injustices, unfortunately it does not seem to succeed in any of these noble endeavors.
Rudy (Eric Schweig) is an officer of the law in the most poverty stricken city in the entire United States and his older brother, Mogie (Graham Greene), is the unfortunate casualty of multiple atrocities, not the least of which is the Vietnam war which returned him depressed and slightly deranged.
Mogie is clearly an alcoholic, as are most Native Americans in this poor town, and is on a straight and narrow path to suicide. Rudy feels that he is still in debt to his older brother for the life saving courage that was shown him as a youth. Unfortunately this “debt” is returned in the form of “enabling” as every penny that Rudy “loans” his misguided sibling is clearly being spent exclusively on booze.
The supporting characters suffer from excruciating one dimensionality since none of them really have anything to do but look forlorn and opine about days past. It is in this aspect where the lack of a gripping script rears its ugly head. Even during the films “triumphant yet confusing” conclusion, Schwieg’s Rudy emotes no perceptible arc. He may seem at peace with his smiles and yelps but is committing vigilante acts upon a national monument the cure to what ails him?
From start to finish, Rudy believes in taking the law into his own hands (even though he is a respected police officer) by beating suspects undercover of a mask and anonymously committing arson on local liquor stores. As the old saying goes … “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”