Wild Indian Movie Review
Coming in at a lean 90 minutes, Wild Indian is a searing exploration of past trauma and dark secrets. It is undeniably one of the best movies to premiere at Sundance.
Writer/director Lyle Mithcell Corbine Jr., making his feature debut, shoots straight for the shadowy recesses of your heart with this somber but enthralling drama, about two men whose lives were shattered after they covered up the murder of a schoolmate long ago. A morality tale, but not necessarily one about redemption, Wild Indian offers no easy answers nor a desire to lay judgement on its troubled protagonists.
Michael Greyeyes is fantastic, delivering what is sure to be one of the best performances of the year. Simmering with anger and darkness, yet with eyes swallowed by hollowness, Greyeyes’ turn gives us an unflinching and unapologetic character who is both tragically relatable yet harshly removed from consequence.
Chaske Spencer is equally powerful, delivering a character that serves as a counterbalance to Greyeyes’ darkness but is no less troubled. Greyeyes is likely to get most of the attention, yet Spencer’s performance gives the film its heartbeat.
Acting aside, credit to Corbine for bringing to life this complex, unpredictable, and stirring story. From the unlikely bookends, set centuries earlier, to the machinations of the present, Corbine offers explanation for the boys’ actions but never attempts to show forgiveness for them. It’s his dedication to writing these complex characters and letting their decisions unfold in believable if shocking ways that makes Wild Indian pulse with sinister energy.
Wild Indian is a movie that will linger with you long after the end credits. Powerful and superbly acted, Corbine’s debut is the kind every filmmaker dreams of.
This movie was reviewed as part of coverage of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.