Henry Heath, a grieving lawman whose daughter has recently died, is assigned custody of the ghoulish Jean Baptiste, a notorious robber of 300 graves. Against the perilous Utah desert terrain Heath must somehow keep a marked man alive.
For Robbing the Dead is a story of compassion - compassion toward those who may seem the least deserving of Christian love. It follows the story of Henry Heath, a law officer in 1862 Salt Lake City. Heath finds himself responsible for the well-being of a prisoner whom he despises - an impoverished French immigrant named Jean Baptiste who is convicted of robbing the graves of the recently deceased. Baptiste is exiled to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. With no one willing to look after this man, Henry Heath becomes Baptiste's sole defense against the hostile isolation of Antelope Island and the contempt of an entire community. Through his somewhat reluctant service, Heath's heart softens and his own sorrows find relief.Written by
After the first take of the scene where Henry Heath (John Freeman) roughly interrogates Jean Baptiste (David Stevens), Stevens, a "Method" actor angrily berated Freeman for not choking him hard enough. The second take had to be cut short when Stevens could not get out any lines because Freeman's choking was too effective. Stevens had to tap out rather than deliver his lines. "Turns out you can't say OK, OK, when a cowboy is really choking you" said Stevens. "From now on we will try acting". See more »
A solid film
Hmm. I'm not sure the film is about tumbleweeds, though that is a an interesting read. To say that the theological question is whether or not the victims of grave robbing go to heaven naked is as dismissive as it is inaccurate. This is no Ordet, but it's like saying that Ordet asks whether or not dead people can kiss. The film requires some patience and an attention span, but I found it rewarding. I didn't really identify with any theological themes, though I'm not a religious person. But I thought the ethical question was significant. Do we gain an increased understanding for those whom we're willing to help? I think it's interesting that the storytellers chose a notoriously violent genre to tell a story about forgiveness. I also think it's interesting that the violence is intentionally clumsy and not exactly satisfying. They're not the first to do it, nor did they do it better than Eastwood or Mann or Wyler or noteworthy others. But they did it more capably and intelligently than most. This is a fine film with stunning visuals, terrific performances, and a solid (though strangely quiet) soundtrack. Flaws? Of course. I'm not sure they're being honest about the budget, but if they made this on under a million, it's an even more impressive achievement. I know everyone's entitled to their opinion, but this is far better than a 5 star film (by the way, what goofball gave this film 0 stars? At least the person with the previous review clearly watched the film and rendered a sincere opinion!).
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