The Indian Runner
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The Indian Runner, Sean Penn's debut film as director (he also wrote the script, based on the Bruce Springsteen song "Highway Patrolman") is a brooding tale of two brothers -- one peaceful and sedate, the other violent and aggressive -- whose natures, left unchecked since they were children, are set to the boiling point as they head toward middle-age. David Morse is the quiet brother, Joe Roberts, who is a deputy sheriff in a small town. His older brother Frank (Viggo Mortensen) shows up on Joe's doorsteps, after a recent run-in with the police. Frank tells Joe that he is… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Rambling, indulgent and joltingly raw at times, Sean Penn's first outing as a director takes a fair amount of patience to get through but has an integrity that intermittently serves it well."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Penn surrounds his brothers with supporting characters who are so well-realized, I'll remember them as long as I remember the leads."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Muscular if overwrought drama with great performances."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Although the camera always gives precedence to the actor, Penn is not just merely a manipulator of theatrics. He conjures up superb images rivalling anything in modern American moviemaking."
‑ Bill Craske, Senses of Cinema
"Penn's first project as writer/director is a film out of time, drenched in an overbearing '60s world-view which veers between the dated and the dopey."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Penn is trying to get at gritty American ''truths'' about love, brutality, and blood ties. Somehow, though, it's all a bit pat: By now, even these stark themes have the ring of movie conventions."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Probes the love/hate relationship between two brothers destined to follow different stars."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"Loose, rambling and sometimes rudderless as it is, "The Indian Runner" has a fundamental honesty that gives it real substance."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"The film is slow and pretentious, but it's a feature debut and Sean Penn, a distinguished actor, is good with his cast."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Penn's generosity to his actors is welcome, and Mortensen and Morse make the most of it with substantial performances, but a tighter reign might have livened up a film that at times becomes a little ponderous."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Indian Runner on Rotten Tomatoes