Wild Indian is the feature debut from Indigenous writer-director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., who tells the story of two Indigenous men, Makwa (Michael Greyeyes) and Ted-O (Chaske Spencer), and how their lives have turned out years after covering up a horrific crime committed when they were children. 

There is much to be said about the techniques used throughout to convey emotions visually, due to them remaining largely unspoken, which make this quiet film rather resounding. At the sight of a lens flare, you wonder if things will take a turn for the better, that there might be a reason for hope, until suddenly Makwa and Ted-O’s lives shift in a completely unforeseen direction, as if this pain were unavoidable. The film’s tone immediately elicits a sense of foreboding, keeping you suspended in angst.

Although Makwa and Ted-O have this trauma tying them together, their characters have gone in two separate directions, thus the effects of this event manifest themselves in different ways, masterfully portrayed by Greyeyes and Spencer. But one thing remains the same: they are both trapped by it. There’s a transition from a shot of bars on a child’s crib to a close-up of Ted-O’s face, overlapping the two images together for just a moment to show the true influence this secret has had on the rest of his life, with this same symbolism of cell bars reappearing in another scene too. 

Wild Indian is a complex story that is meticulously crafted, touching on themes like generational trauma and abuse that refuses to shy away from the truth. The emotions are subtle, but the impact they have on the viewer are certainly felt in the final shot.



CAST: Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, Phoenix Wilson, Julian Gopal

DIRECTOR: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.

WRITER: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.

SYNOPSIS: Two men learn to confront a traumatic secret they share involving the murder of a schoolmate.