Tribute: Viggo Mortensen

The Indian Runner

Sean Penn
USA 1991
126 min

Joe is a deputy sheriff in a small country town. His brother Frank has decided to come back to town in the aftermath of his latest run-in with the law. Frank says he wants to make a fresh start, and Joe tells his wife that he’s prepared to help him. But some people simply seem constitutionally incapable of changing. Frank seems to be one of them... That is the story of THE INDIAN RUNNER, the thoughtful, surprisingly effective directing debut of Sean Penn, who also wrote the screenplay. He says his script was inspired by “Highway Patrolman,” the Bruce Springsteen song, but maybe it was also inspired, in part, by the two sides of Penn’s own character: Here, in one person, is not only the media caricature of a hothead who gets in public shoving matches, but also the young man who is one of the three or four best actors of his generation. It's impressive, how thoughtfully Penn handles this material. The good brother isn't a straight arrow, and the bad brother isn’t romanticized as a rebel without a cause, and there are no easy solutions or neat little happy endings for this story. It’s as intractable as life itself. (Roger Ebert, 1991)

  • David Morse - Joe Roberts
  • Viggo Mortensen - Frank Roberts
  • Valeria Golino - Maria
  • Patricia Arquette - Dorothy
  • Charles Bronson - Mr. Roberts
  • Sandy Dennis - Mrs. Roberts
  • Dennis Hopper - Caesar
  • Sean Penn
  • Anthony B. Richmond
  • Mark Long
  • Jay Cassidy
  • Jack Nitzsche
  • Michael Haller
  • Jill Ohanneson
Mount Film Group, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Mico, NHK, Westmount
Mount Film Group
35 mm
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