Owen Gleiberman
July 18, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Exiles

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
72 minutes
Limited Release Date
07/11/08
director
Kent MacKenzie
distributor
Milestone
author
Kent MacKenzie
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

John Cassavetes is so revered as the founding father of independent film that it isn’t widely known he had peers. One of them was Kent Mackenzie, who shot The Exiles, a ghostly and startling tale of Native Americans in Los Angeles — a fusion of documentary and fiction — in the late ’50s. Never previously released, it’s a revelation. Mackenzie follows a dozen lonely men and women through a night of drinking, wandering, and dreaming, and he touches something elemental: the temper of American life before people camouflaged their sadness in irony. The L.A. images are like Weegee photographs come to life. A-

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