Coming to select theatres and On Demand from writer/director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. and Vertical Entertainment is the story of a past that catches up to the WILD INDIAN.
Makwa (Phoenix Wilson) and Teddo (Julian Gopal) are two young boys who are not only cousins but best of friends. Makwa constantly deals with the abuses of home and Teddo is there for him when he needs him. Makwa finds solace with his crush on a young classmate. Too shy to speak to her, another boy has captured her attention.
Dealing with homelife brings an anger inside Makwa and when he sees his emotional rival in the woods, both Makwa and Teddo’s lives are about to change.
Years go by and Makwa (Michael Greyeyes) is now a man of means with a beautiful wife. Working hard has paid off as he is about ready to get a promotion that he has been waiting for. Teddo (Chaske Spencer), on the other hand, is a man who has spent many years in prison away from his family. Hardened by a secret, it has landed him on the wrong side of the law.
Trying to find his place in the world, Teddo makes a decision that will put everything Makwa has worked for in jeopardy. Now he must return home and it is not the homecoming Makwa ever thought would happen.
Greyeyes as Makwa is a man who is hardened by his childhood. Even getting excited about anything in his life just does not happen for him. His steely eyes and frightening walk is enough to keep most people away from him. When he is cornered, there is nothing he will not do to keep the spotlight off himself.
Spencer as Teddo has lived with a secret that has changed any chance of his life being more than one of prison. Hoping to find a place back with his family, he tries his best to fit in but feels the past in every step he takes being home. Making a decision that should have been done as children, Spencer’s Teddo attempts accountability.
Other cast include Tres Garcia as Daniel, Colton Knaus as James Wolf, Kody Burns as Mrs. Knoll, Adam Budron as Detective Fenton, Kate Bosworth as Greta Peterson, Lisa Gromarty as Cammy, Scott Haze as Priest and Jesse Eisenberg as Jerry.
Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor that offers a unique wealth of experience minus the studio costs. They have won a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for Molly Shannon’s role in OTHER PEOPLE and the film won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Film Limited Release, Best International Film for Babak Anvari’s UNDER THE SHADOW, a BAFTA and three Independent British Independent Film Awards as well.
WILD INDIAN begins with a look at the history of Native Americans and their treatment by a world encroaching on their land. The film continues with the story of two young boys trying to fit into a world that still does not recognize their importance and treatment in history. It is not enough that Makwa deals with violence at home, but he is treated equally badly in school.
Kudos to Wilson as the young Makwa as his performance is heartbreaking and horrifying at the same time. Wilson has the ability to bring you into his pain through his eyes and a disconnect that transfers to Greyeyes as the older Makwa. Goppal as the young Teddo wanted nothing more than to be a source of comfort and understanding for his cousin Makwa. Their secret is one that changes everything.
There are parts of the film that seem a bit off but with director Corbine Jr. managed to keep the film going forward. Between Wilson and Greyeyes, the character of Makwa does not give us a moment to breathe because what happens from moment to moment is head shaking. Adding Spencer into the mix, it now becomes like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
In the end – a fraction of a second changed their lives!