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Sundance 2021: “Wild Indian”

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lies has its own way of catching up. It may take years but it still does. Stories like “Wild Indian” is heartbreaking because the root cause starts with domestic abuse that can leave irreparable damage with a long lasting effect on its victims.

Makwa (Phoenix Wilson) is a boy who was abused at home and at school. He comes to school with bruises. When his teacher or principal asks what happened, he says, “I just fell down and hurt myself.” He is friends with Ted-O (Julian Gopal as young Ted-O). One day, when they walk into a forest, Makwa takes a gun and shoots a boy named James. He just buries him and forgets for the next twenty-five years. When Ted-O is released from prison, everything takes a different turn.

Adult Makwa (Michael Greyeyes), who is now married to Greta (Kate Bosworth), has a son named Francis and has a second child incoming, seems to have a great job and stability. But there’s something strange with him due to which we cannot force ourselves to like him.  Adult Ted-O (Chaske Spencer), on the other hand, has been beaten up by time, guilt and the burden of truth which he cannot wait to release himself from. However, when the time comes for the great standoff, the two will decide which way to go, which l can certainly say, is not going to be the same for both.

Written and directed by Mitchell Corbin Jr., “Wild Indian” showcases brilliant writing and direction from a first-time director. It opens up the wounds of family abuse, a trauma that is being carried over the decades, and how instead of learning to become better, the person gets rotten from the inside. However, the punishment for it is much greater than any prison time; whatever we do, wherever we go, we cannot escape from what hides inside our head. And that is why Corbin Jr.’s film is so brilliant because he gave a chance to a man to redeem himself. But will he, is something I will leave up to you to find out.

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