Mystery Coyote Waits (2003) Review
(More customer reviews)"Coyote Waits", brought to the small screen by the same team that produced the lamentable "Skinwalkers", is a satisfying experience for Tony Hillerman fans, for fans of movie mysteries in general, and for folks interested in the portrayal of Native Americans, in this case the Navajo (Dine'). It would appear that the writers listened to the complaints about "Skinwalkers" and came up with a story that adheres much more closely to Hillerman's plot and to the author's portrayal of his main characters, particularly Jim Chee (played by Adam Beach) and Joe Leaphorn (Wes Studi). Like any novel adapted into a two-hour movie, there are conflations of characters and substantial trimmings in the narrative. Nonetheless, the major plotlines in the book are dealt with here in a generally satisfactory way, although the climax was a bit too pat based on the information that the viewer was given during the course of the investigation into the death of Officer Delbert Nez. The principal character change in the film involves the substitution of Leaphorn's wife Emma(who died in the earlier book) for Professor Borbonnette, a change that is not particularly jarring in this context. Kept intact from the book is the relationship between the traditionalist Chee (studying to be a haatali, or medicine man) and the rationalist Leaphorn (firmly in touch with his own Dine' culture, but deeply skeptical of some of its beliefs). All in all, the treatment accorded to "Coyote Waits" bodes well for future productions in the series. Hopefully, "Thief of Time" will be next.
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