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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Perhaps we don't solve anything.", 28 Feb. 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Coyote Waits [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
"We just rearrange the mystery"
For those who have read the book you will notice many instances where the story is altered and people moved around. The most striking is that Emma is still alive and the cat (Slim) is back. They had to add the character of Slick Naki to cut out about an hour of skinwalker investigation. I can say no more without giving away the mystery.
Jim Chee sits drinking coffee while partner Tribal Policeman Delbert Nez meets his demise. Chee catches the obvious perpetrator. A Navaho shaman, with a bottle in one hand and THE gun in his belt. Case closed.
Because of his guilt at not backing up his partner and at the insistence of Chee's on again and off again relationship with the defending attorney, Janet Pete, Chee must find out for him self what happened and if he may have made a mistake.
Because of a relationship through is wife, Emma, with Ashie Pinto's (the defendant) clan, and her insistence that Ashie is being railroaded, Joe Leaphorn must also investigate from a different angle. Emma helps in the investigation and lends support to Joe.
Both men are pushed into what looks like an endless number of overlapping mysteries of which the murder of Delbert Nez is just one. They - and we - must deal with the history of the CIA and that of witches.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some grating flaws, but the mystery itself works reasonably well. Be sure to read the Hillerman books, 28 Sept. 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Coyote Waits [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Years ago Robert Redford bought the screen rights to a bunch of Tony Hillerman mysteries. He's been the force behind one movie (The Dark Wind, 1991, with Lou Diamond Phillips and Fred Ward as Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn) and three television movies, all with Adam Beach as Chee and Wes Studi as Leaphorn (Skinwalkers, 2002; Coyote Waits, 2003; and A Thief of Time, 2004). Redford has yet to get it right.

Coyote Waits is the best of the TV movies, but it suffers from the same conscientious flaws that mar the other three productions. It's best to remind ourselves just why Hillerman's mysteries are so good: They are complex yet believable; are set in what, for most Americans, is an exotic locale within a culture which is not well known; and the mysteries are superbly constructed and well written. Hillerman educates us along the way -- if we want to be educated -- about Navajo people, customs, history and the Navajo belief system. He makes clear the tension between modern needs and traditional values, but he does it matter-of-factly, with no preaching, and always within the context of the mystery he's telling.

Redford and his team almost perversely get it backward. More than any of the other flaws, it's the reverential treatment given to the Navajo and their land that sinks these movies into culturally-approved lessons. Instead of trusting the audience to take up what they will and learn from it or not, as Hillerman does, we have sweeping camera vistas of the land at dramatic moments; a generically sensitive "ethnic" score that tries to tell us what we should be appreciating in the Navajo belief system; and a need to cram in so many plot points from the books with messages about Navajo issues that the mysteries themselves become disorganized.

Coyote Waits eventually settles down to a better than average telling of Hillerman's story, which involves a ruthless search for old bones. A great deal of money and an enhanced reputation are the prizes. There's murder and avarice, rattlesnakes and Bolivian coins and the continuing conflict within Chee over his job as a cop and his gifts as a healer. Chee and the older Leaphorn wind up working together but on parallel aspects of the case. It makes for a neat way to keep the two different men prominent in the solution. The director and writer have managed with partial success to keep the focus on the story. Coyote Waits is far more coherent and with less of the reverential stuff that so marred, in my opinion, Skinwalkers and The Thief of Time.

You might want to give The Dark Wind a try. Phillips makes an interesting, if young, Chee. The movie, however, also keeps getting sidetracked into overly respectful appreciation of the Navajo way. The Navajo deserve better...which they get in the Hillerman books.

The only extra worth noting is a "making of" piece that features shots on location and brief interviews with the production crew, Beach and Studi. It serves up the same cloying flaws as the TV movie. People keep telling us how honored they are to be working on the program and how wonderful PBS is to be a partner in making the production possible. This is the same PBS that gave us the 10 p.m. "safe harbor" and that had the vapors over a real soldier in a real war (in Ken Burns' WWII documentary) saying a curse word. Please, folks, enough is enough.

I give this movie a better-than-average rating because, even with the movie's flaws, the team tried to do a better job. When they concentrated on the mystery, the movie works reasonably well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GOOD MOVIE, 19 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Coyote Waits [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is the second in a series of three, all complete in their own right. I didn't like it quite as much as The Dark Wind, but it was still very good. I think it missed Lou Diamond Phillips, and could have had just a bit more of the Native American culture about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great twists, 16 Mar. 2012
By 
Mrs. Julia M. James-tarn "Julz" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Coyote Waits [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
if you like great story lines and thrillers this will grip you right up until its end. great twists and turns throughout - just sit and enjoy it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 26 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Coyote Waits [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Great!
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