Sioux City (1994) starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Melinda Dillon directed by Lou Diamond Phillips Movie Review

Sioux City (1994)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lou Diamond Phillips in Sioux City (1994)

Finding the Diamond

Having been given up for adoption as a young boy by his Sioux mother, Jesse Rainfeather Goldman (Lou Diamond Phillips) has been raised by his Jewish parents and become a hard working doctor in LA. Forced to take a vacation when he over steps the mark and having received a gift from his real mother Jesse feels a need to go back to where he was born to understand more as to who he really is as he only has slim memories of his real mother. When he reaches Nebraska and the reservation he learns that his mother died just a few days earlier in suspicious circumstances which he starts to look into whilst getting to know his relatives and meeting the locals such as Jolene (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) who works in the local store. But Jesse's prying in to what happened does not go down well with the local police, especially after he gets close to Allison (Lise Cutter) the daughter of police chief Drew McDermott (Ralph Waite).

On face value "Sioux City" looks like a ridiculously simple movie with Jesse being the son who returns home and finds himself investigating the death of his mother. On just those simple facts you can guess how this movie is likely to play out with Jesse stepping on people's toes as he tries to get to the bottom of things and finding himself threatened by those who become threatened by what he might discover. And when you look through the roles that the prominent female cast members play you can quickly take a stab in the dark as to which one is going to be the love interest because of course this movie has to have a touch of romance to feel complete.

Ralph Waite in Sioux City (1994)

But then there is an extra angle going on in "Sioux City" with the character of Jesse trying to come to terms with who he is having been adopted by a Jewish couple at a young age and only having the vaguest recollection of being a small child on the reservation. The combination of this side with the mysterious side fail to smoothly join together but it is an interesting angle which stops "Sioux City" from being a simple crime solving movie where the hero puts himself in danger.

As for the acting in "Sioux City"; well having stepped behind the camera to direct as well as star Lou Diamond Phillips delivers an enjoyable performance as the soul searching Jesse but it isn't a performance with a great deal of depth. It is the same through out and every performance is the sort which works only on a surface level although I always find it difficult to take Ralph Waite seriously when he plays it tough as he will always be nice guy John Walton to me.

What this all boils down to is that "Sioux City" ends up an entertaining movie yet one which is nothing special. Maybe if it had a more experienced director behind the camera it would have worked as more than just surface entertainment but even so it is enjoyable for fans of Lou Diamond Phillips.