End Of The Spear

"Bad"

End Of The Spear Review


It takes a movie like Brokeback Mountain to make you realize how awful End of the Spear is. Part of the former movie's beauty is it dealt with one rewarding storyline, the secret, destructive romance of two closeted cowboys (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger), while branching off into other aspects of the men's public lives. It's proof that a great movie can be simply told.

This lesson is lost on the people behind End of the Spear, who continue a not-so-great tradition of 2005: cramming storylines and tangents into the basic plot like a film is some kind of supreme burrito where quantity matters over quality. You'll get extra characters and supreme plots for that crispy cinematic crunch! Finish End of the Spear and you'll have no idea what you've watched, no idea of how characters relate to each other, or what the movie's is about. You will be full. And annoyed.

The movie begins in 1994 as American Steve Saint (Chad Allen) kayake the Amazon River with the man who killed his father nearly 40 years earlier. Nate Saint and four other missionaries were killed by the Waoranis, a violent Ecuadorian tribe who were literally spearing each other into extinction. Mincayani (Louie Leonardo), now a grandfather in his sixties, killed Saint.

Wouldn't you want to know what leads to a man being paired with his father's killer? Well, hold on, because the filmmakers make you work for it. You sit through pointless jungle scenes involving the Waoranis' warring lifestyle and Nate making initial contact with the tribe. The spearing scene rouses you... but then you're wading through Ned's family making peace with the tribe, which happens too easily. (I would think living with, and then aiding, the people who slaughtered your family and friends would be done with a little reluctance, but that's just me.) Then you have to endure Mincayani's emotional struggles, not exactly fertile territory since the Waoranis aren't exactly the thinking type. And let's not even get started on the fever outbreak, Ron Owens' manipulative, sappy score, and the stilted dialogue.

If the innumerable plot diversions don't keep you from getting to know the two people on the boat, the stunning lack of character development seals the deal. Steve is painted as a precocious boy who loses his dad, kicks a couple of stones in disgust, and then readily helps the Waoranis as if his dad's death was like losing a game of stickball. That's the one reason you can't relate to any of the Saints: The script leaves you wondering if they're good Christians or if they're morons.

As the tribe's fever ends and the quarantine is lifted, the film's writers depict an allegedly touching scene where Steve offers Mincayani his friendship. Of course, the pair has spent exactly 3.9 seconds together onscreen, aside from Steve saying that the tribesman paid him little heed. Mutual misery links them together; however, it takes a back seat to community relations -- Mincayani is afraid of losing the warring civilization he's grown dependent on -- and laziness: a sporadic presence, young Steve is portrayed either as a annoying goody-goody or as a useless commentator to the ongoing stampede of events.

End of the Spear ends with Steve returning to Ecuador for his aunt's funeral; later, he goes on the aforementioned trip with Mincayani and the old man tells his young friend about his horrible act. I won't spoil the ending because it's not worth revealing. It's devoid of suspense (obviously) and resonance. Ultimately, you're looking at two strangers whose connection to each other is only there because the writers and director deemed it so. The real-life Steve Saint has learned a lot about people and tolerance. I don't doubt that. It's a shame that people watching his life will see it filled with perfect strangers and imperfect resolutions.



End Of The Spear

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th January 2006

Box Office USA: $11.7M

Distributed by: Every Tribe Entertainment

Production compaines: Bearing Fruit Entertainment, every tribe entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jim Hanon

Producer: Bill Ewing, , Mart Green, Tom Newman

Starring: Louie Leonardo as Mincayani, as Nate Saint / Steve Saint / Narrator, Jack Guzman as Kimo, as Young Steve Saint, as Barbara Youderian

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.