Jack Pettibone Riccobono’s haunting and visually arresting documentary captures the cycle of drugs and gang culture on a remote Native American reservation in Minnesota. With compassion and a non-judgemental eye we follow gang leader Rob Brown as he’s released sentenced to prison for a fifth time, along with the hopes and dreams of his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, who looks set to become the reservation’s new drug dealer, but who wonders if there’s a life for him outside the community.
Terrence Malick and Natalie Portman executive produced Riccobono’s impressive debut feature, for which he returned to the community 14 times over two and half years. And like Malick’s features, it’s Riccobono’s eye for natural landscape and startling compositions that make this more than just an absorbing study. It posits the filmmaker in the tradition of great American ethnographic chroniclers such as Les Blank, but with a serious socio-political bearing that led to the film screening at the White House for an audience of officials.