Dark Winds Review: Zahn McClarnon Leads A Solid Cast In AMC’s Navajo-Centric Foray Into Genre Thrills
Filed in Reviews

Dark Winds Review: Zahn McClarnon Leads A Solid Cast In AMC’s Navajo-Centric Foray Into Genre Thrills

slashfilm review:

Zahn McClarnon should have starred in his own TV series a long time ago. The instinct to make him more of a main character was there toward the end of “Fargo” season 2, where he played the mercurial enforcer Hanzee, and since then, we’ve seen McClarnon costar or take on a recurring role in shows like “Westworld,” “Barkskins,” “Reservation Dogs,” and “Hawkeye.” However, in “Dark Winds,” which premieres on AMC and AMC+ on June 12, the actor is front and center in a noir thriller with a writers’ room made up of Native American voices.

“Dark Winds” hails from creator Graham Roland and showrunner Vince Calandra, both alums of Prime Video’s “Jack Ryan.” The show counts George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford among its executive producers, and it’s based on the “Leaphorn & Chee” series of crime novels by Tony Hillerman. McClarnon plays the Navajo Tribal Police officer Joe Leaphorn, a role that the late Fred Ward inhabited in the 1991 film “The Dark Wind.”

The network has touted this as a series made “with the full support and blessing of The Navajo Nation,” and it helicopters the viewer over the buttes of Monument Valley and sets them down in the early 1970s without feeling the need to over-explain aspects of Indigenous culture such as the Kinaaldá running ritual. “Dark Winds” knows what an asset it has in McClarnon, who brings a soulful presence to the Leaphorn character, but the series also makes good use of his “Red Road” cohort, Kiowa Gordon, as well as Jessica Matten (“The Empty Man”).

Together, these three actors, all of whom share a natural chemistry, form the magnetic core of “Dark Winds,” which overcomes its occasionally pedestrian genre thrills with a unique sense of place and people that keep it watchable for six episodes.
Continue reading Dark Winds Review: Zahn McClarnon Leads A Solid Cast In AMC’s Navajo-Centric Foray Into Genre Thrills

Share
‘Dark Winds’ Review: Zahn McClarnon Shines in a Show About Seeking Justice in an Unjust World
Filed in Reviews

‘Dark Winds’ Review: Zahn McClarnon Shines in a Show About Seeking Justice in an Unjust World

collider.com reviews Dark Winds:

The veteran actor elevates this adaptation of the Tony Hillerman mystery novels.

In the many archetypal stories about crime that proliferate on television, conflict is derived from the disruption of justice where the police must come in to restore order. A murder is committed, and a culprit must be found. Money is stolen and it must be returned. It is a typically simple succession of events that we are all familiar with. Yet deeper questions remain that can and should upend this formula. What happens if a greater injustice has already been perpetuated and left unaddressed? What if getting to the bottom of the crimes can’t bring true justice? What if there are some grievous wounds that remain impossible to fully heal? These complications serve as the center of the six-episode AMC series Dark Winds. Both a Western and a noir thriller that is at its most interesting when it delves into these deeper contradictions, it often loses focus on a fraught journey towards something more reflective. When it arrives there, it becomes unexpectedly admirable and audacious.
Continue reading ‘Dark Winds’ Review: Zahn McClarnon Shines in a Show About Seeking Justice in an Unjust World

Share
‘Dark Winds’ to blow into NM: AMC series to bring Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee to life
Filed in Project News

‘Dark Winds’ to blow into NM: AMC series to bring Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee to life

Zahn McClarnon will be starring in Dark Winds, a tv series based on Tony Hillerman’s books executive produced by George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford! I’ve read many of Hillerman’s books, they’re great. Can’t wait to see this series 😀

Jul. 11—The Navajo Nation and Santa Fe will be the backdrop to the new AMC series, “Dark Winds.”

The series has more New Mexico ties than just its location, the series is based on the Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, and has New Mexico residents George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford signed on as executive producers alongside Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis.

Santa Fe-based filmmaker Chris Eyre (Cheyenne, Arapaho) will helm the pilot episode, as well as executive produce.

Eyre is known for his Native film classic “Smoke Signals” and his work at The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design before it closed.

“Over the past 25 years, it has been my goal to celebrate the telling of Native American-themed stories from a Native American perspective with characters we can all relate to,” Eyre says. “With this television series and the support of AMC, the great Navajo Nation and George and Bob, we are creating opportunities behind and in front of the camera while making great entertainment in the beloved American Southwest.”

“Dark Winds” is a psychological thriller that follows two Navajo police officers in the 1970s Southwest, as their search for clues in a grisly double murder case forces them to challenge their own spiritual beliefs and come to terms with the trauma of their pasts.

According to AMC, season one will include six episodes and is expected to premiere on AMC+ and AMC in 2022.

Starring in the series will be Zahn McClarnon and Kiowa Gordon as Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, respectively.

Martin jumped at the chance to work with Redford and Eyre on the project.

“Tony Hillerman was one of the greats, as every mystery reader knows. Down here in the Southwest, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are as iconic as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe, and Travis McGee,” Martin says. “Our plan is to shoot in New Mexico, in and around Santa Fe and on the Navajo reservation, and we are bringing in as many Navajo and other Native Americans as possible, as writers, directors, cast, and crew, to capture all the magic and mystery and wonder of the Land of Enchantment.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is looking forward to having the production on the Navajo Nation.

“The Navajo Nation lifted more COVID-19 restrictions to welcome visitors and tourists back to Diné Bikéyah,” Nez says. “We look forward to welcoming the film crew and we hope this will serve to draw more interest from production companies and draw more tourists to boost our economy and contribute to the ‘Buy Navajo, Buy Local’ initiative.”

Redford, who lives in New Mexico, says he read his first Hillerman book in 1986 while filming in the state.

“Hillerman is a master storyteller, his writing is full of mystery and suspense, set amidst a background that blends traditional oral stories of Native American culture and landscape,” Redford says. “I am happy to partner with George R.R. Martin and AMC on this project, and am especially grateful for the collaboration with President Nez and The Navajo Nation.”

Source: Yahoo! News

Share