Smoke Signals tells the story of two very different young men, brought up in a small town on the "Rez". When Victor is called away urgently to Phoenix, the two young men are thrown together when Thomas offers to pay for his trip. The remainder of the film looks at how the characters deal with themselves, each other and their shared histories as both struggle to come to terms with their relationship with Victor's drunken father.
The road movie theme is really something of an aside. What makes this a brilliant and darkly funny movie, is that it offers an honest insight into the lives of Indians on the Reservations in the late 1990s, without resorting to the kind of exploitation so common in white-directed films of the period. Indeed, Dances with Wolves is lampooned in a conversation where Victor tires to teach Thomas how to be a real Indian. As film critic Roger Ebert notes in his own analysis of the film "There's a particular satisfaction in listening to people talk about what they know well and care about. The subject isn't as important as the feeling. Listen to them discuss the ins and outs of an Indian specialty known as "frybread,'' and you will sense what they know about the world."
At the very least, this might be something of an antidote to Johnny' Depp in the Lone Ranger.
Indeed at one point in the film, a woman remarks to the odd duo "Hey, you two were just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto."
"No" replies Thomas, "We are more like Tonto and Tonto."
Try it - you might just love it