The film Smoke Signals is about two young Indians, Victor and Thomas, who take a trip to Phoenix, Arizona to pick up a few things that belonged to Victor’s father who suddenly passed away. Victor has always been a stubborn child since his father up and left him and his mom. He has carried this bitterness towards his father like a chip on his shoulder, always looking to Thomas to take his anger out on.
At the beginning of the film the narrator describes Victor and Thomas as “children born of flame and ash.” This description carries on throughout the film starting with the fire that changed everything and ended with the ashes of Victor’s father who was the source of so much tension. When Victor throws his fathers ashes into the rushing water it is the perfect symbol of release and forgiveness.
The character that really carried the film for me was Thomas. His innocent, carefree spirit and love for telling stories helped keep the plot alive. There was something wonderful about him. No matter how much Victor yelled at him to stop telling stories, he wouldn’t let it deter him, especially when those stories were about Victor’s father. To him, telling these stories was a way of both keeping Victor’s father alive and showing Victor that he wasn’t all bad despite what he grew up believing. Every story, whether it was exaggerated or not, was a way for him to hold on to the memories he cherished most.