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Viggo Mortensen in Indian Runner

Viggo Mortensen in Indian Runner

Release: 1991

Director: Sean Penn
Writer(s): Sean Penn
Based on: song by Bruce Springsteen

Runtime: 127 min

MCAA Rating: R for violence, sexual context, strong language and full frontal nudity (yes of Viggo but not in an erotic context.)

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Indian Runner Cast and Crew

Viggo Mortensen: Frank Roberts

Other leading roles:
David Morse: Joe Roberts
Valeria Golino: Maria
Patricia Arquette: Dorothy
Charles Bronson: Mr. Roberts
Sandy Dennis: Mrs. Roberts
Dennis Hopper: Caesar

Indian Runner Synopsis

This powerful and haunting story of two brothers was Sean Penn's directorial debut. The elder brother Joe (Morse) is a good, stable family man who deeply loves his charming and unpredictable younger brother Frank (Viggo). When Frank returns from Vietnam, his drinking and inability to control his violence drag him deeper and deeper into trouble, despite all his own efforts to make a life and Joe's efforts to rescue him.

Indian Runner Brief Review

If you have seen Viggo only in heroic roles, you may find it unnerving to see how thoroughly he becomes this angry, disturbed, self-destructive character. At the same time he lets you see the pain that drives Frank, allowing us to care about the character even at his worst.

I was initially reluctant to watch this as I don't enjoy violent or dark movies. It is intense and visceral (though not gory), and left me feeling drained, but I still recommend it.

Indian Runner Articles & Interviews

After Writing and Directing The Indian Runner, Sean Penn Swears He'll Never Act Again - Interview Magazine, September 0000
Extensive article focuses on Sean Penn, his vision for The Indian Runner, and the process of making it, including an anecdote about how Penn helped Viggo Mortensen get past a block.   []

The Fire That Fuels an Artist's HeartThe Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart - Carpe Noctem #15, March 1999
Viggo comments on most of his pre-1999 movies, including Prison, Leatherface, Reflecting Skin, Indian Runner, Crimson Tide, The Prophecy, G.I. Jane, A Perfect Murder, Psycho, and the upcoming Walk on the Moon (tentatively titled The Blouse Man). He also discusses his art and upcoming showings. Finally, when asked, "In twenty years, would you rather be remembered as an actor who painted or a painter who acted?" he replies, ""I'd like to know that I was honest. I was myself as far as just being an artist and being an actor or poet or photographer or painter or whatever the hell. A pebble stacker, whatever the hell you end up doing, that's art. Being an artist is being an artist. So just be. If you only do acting, you're still an artist. I'd just like to know that I actually challenged myself."   []

The Indian RunnerThe Indian Runner - Senses of Cinema, June 2001
This in-depth film review of The Indian Runner is an ode to Sean Penn's skills as a director. The author describes the interplay between the two brothers, played by Viggo Mortensen and David Morse, as "the two leads oppose each other stylistically: Mortenson an extroverted ticking assembly of sly grins and virile explosions contrasts Morse's introspective gentle giant."

Indian Runner Resources

Indian Runner discussion at IMDb - Inspired and inspiring perspective on The Indian Runner by IMDb member, Hesper79, with comments from some other members.
Viggo Mortensen in Indian RunnerIndian Runner Program - Sachie has posted 14 pages of scans from either a souvenir program or press kit for Indian Runner. Most of the text is in Japanese. Includes production notes, lyrics from Highway Patrolman in English and Japanese, and many photographs, both color and black & white.
Viggo Mortensen as Frank Roberts in Indian RunnerIndian Runner: Review - Two thoughtful reviews of the film, plus a link to a 3rd review and other resources. From the first review: "... this is Viggo's film, it utterly stands or falls on him, and his performance is brave, startling, inventive and riveting - Frank is so complicated and paradoxical (where was the Academy that year?)."

Indian Runner Photo Gallery