A dreamlike but powerful documentary about a poor Native American community
‘I wanted to become the biggest drug cartel there ever was!’ That’s 17-year-old Kevin Fineday, resident of Pine Points, Minnesota, a grindingly poor Native American reservation town. This documentary charts a few months in the lives of Kevin and his mentor Rob Brown, an ex-gangbanger about to start his sixth prison stint.
Thematically and stylistically, this is similar to the remarkable 2011 doc ‘Bombay Beach’, another portrait of America’s forgotten backwaters. Director Jack Pettibone Riccobono aims to balance the film’s distressing subject matter with moments of visual grace, showing that even in the bleakest of places there’s poetry to be found (it’s no accident that Terrence Malick is credited as one of the producers). The result is an empathetic, often heartbreaking piece of work, at times tough to watch – one party scene is particularly grim and confrontational – at others calm and contemplative.