Thunderheart Psych. Movie Review

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O’Connor, M.
Psych 30 Paper 3


At the beginning of Thunderheart is a note that states: “This film was inspired by events that took place in the 1970s at several Indian reservations.” There are two main stories in this film. The events that are going on in this particular reservation are hand in hand with the spiritual awakening of the main character Raymond Levoi an F.B.I. agent. .Levoi is sent to the Oglala Sioux reservation to assist no nonsense agent Frank Coutelle in a murder Investigation. Levoi’s superior believes he can help defuse tension and improve relations with the local people as his father was a Sioux although Levoi does not acknowledge his heritage. Of course, he goes to South Dakota as ordered, leaving Washington D.C. a staunch F.B.I. Agent reporting to Coutelle. However, as the investigation unfolds and Levoi begins to see the plight of the reservation people, his probing uncovers a conspiracy to mine uranium which will ruin the land.

Two other major characters in this film are Walter Crow Horse the local police chief and Grandpa Sam Reaches the medicine man revered by the local traditional people.
The personal challenges that Raymond Levoi faced or endured in this story is that he did not want to identify with these people. He felt superior. We see this when Walter Crow Horse reputes the F.B.I. trying to arrest Jimmy Looks Twice for the murder. Crow Horse shows Levoi a foot print in the dirt and tells him the man was big, heavy. “You are after the wrong man.” Levoi kicks the dirt erasing the foot print. The F.B.I. knows best…Ray knows best.

According to the book Psychology Applied to Modern Life (Weiten, Lloyd, Dunn & Hammer (2009), describing Erik Erikson’s Development Stages of Psychosocial Development, we see that Levoi might be categorized as Number 6: Psychosocial Crisis: Intimacy versus isolation; Significant social relationships: Partners in friendship and sex; competition, cooperation with a...
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