Windtalkers - Native American Movie Listing


Nicholas Cage stars in this World War II movie about racism and bonding in the eastern front. You get perhaps two minutes of "life on the reservation" as a group of Navajo Indians are brought in for special training. Their language is so complex that the army figures it will form the basis of an unbreakable code, one they can use without fear of being understood. There's a catch of course, as there are with all such codes - you can't let the key get into the enemy's hands. In this case, it means one of the Code Talkers can never be captured.

Cage is a soldier assigned to protect one of these Navajos - Ben Yahzee (played by Adam Beach). He feels silly being a nurse-maid but also torn knowing that he might have to kill this man in cold blood. Other soldiers are less shy about how they feel. They actively look down on the Navajos as being inferior, and one even attacks him, claiming he could kill him because he "looks like a Jap".

Directed by John Woo, you need to realize right up front that this isn't going to be a calm, collected view of war's emotional drama. There is a lot of Rambo-like blasting, a lot of nonsensical fighting without taking cover. Cage is not only stoical about his task - he is almost wooden in his lack of emotion.

It's also a shame, for a movie which is all about the skill of the Navajos - that they end up being a side line in the story. I would have loved more introductory material, to introduce how the Navajos were living on their reservation, how they were treated there. I would have liked to see how they made their decisions to defend their country despite that prejudice. I would also have liked to see how they were treated when they returned. That would have really made it more a story about "The Navajo Code Talkers" and less about "Nicholas Cage and his Sidekick Visit Japan".

I also couldn't understand *why* the code talkers were doing some of the tasks they were doing. Let's say they were radioing the position of the enemy, so the ships could fire on them. Why was this location a secret? Didn't the enemy know where their own troops were? It wasn't like they were radioing in "We are about to sneak from position X to position Y".

Still, you can look at it from the point of view that at least SOMETHING was said about this most valuable contribution of the Navajos. Many people had no idea that the code talkers existed, and once they learned the basics from the movie, they went on to learn more on their own.

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