“Thunderbird”: A Complex Film Packing a Wallop and Leaving Tantalizing Questions Unanswered

The last 6 minutes of the film will leave your head spinning and if you are looking for a clean resolution of the conflict and mystery it as if you are being taunted to use your imagination to glue together the pieces. This is solid and complex filmmaking and aside from a few awkward lines it is well acted. Quite frankly I’m busting to pieces and just bursting at the seams to tell you the ending. Doing that would ruin the film so I can’t go down that road.

I can share some background with you though. Will Brook (Colten Wilke) is a loner in a small Pacific Northwest fishing town working on a halibut fishing boat. His mother and father were murdered years back when he was a young lad. Apparently his sister Sarah saw the murder but Will did not. The parents were involved in a land deal with the local First Nations tribe that went sour. Just prior to the murder Chief Dan George was seen by Will and Sarah arguing with their father. Shortly thereafter Will and Sarah’s parents are murdered. Will identifies Chief Dan George as the person arguing with his father shortly before they are murdered. He did not see who committed the murder but Chief Dan George is put away and dies in prison. The local First Nation tribe is furious with Will and harass and assault him if he goes into town so he lives on the fishing boat. Sarah is committed to a psychiatric institution.

Yet another murder of a young woman occurs and detective Ivy Seymour (Natalie Brown) is sent from the big city to investigate as this is the 34th murder of a missing girl in the past 10 years. The women killed is Sarah’s roommate so Will and Ivy go desperately looking for Sarah.

Two teenagers in skimpy costumes are picked up by a man in a pickup truck. Will finds one of them tied up in a remote cabin while the other surfaces on the street of the main town in her underwear and a weird ceremonial mask, the same type that was found on Sarah’s deceased roommate’s head.

Will eventually finds a nurse tied up in an abandoned building and is attacked by a former inmate of Sarah’s psychiatric institution. He kills that former inmate in self defence and who does he see but Sarah. Could it be that Sarah is a mastermind psychotic?  No more clues.

It happens that Will has found more than Sarah but Thunderbird which according to First Nation’s Salish legend used its claws to lift an Orca out of the bay that was frightening the salmon and making the people starve. Will and the First Nations make peace and he is given a ceremonial mask.

The movie highlights the racial tension between the First Nation and residents of the town especially towards Will. Julian Black Antelope seeks peace between Will and his tribe and can offer no explanation of why his parents were murdered. He says, “We all face the darkness and have all lost people to it.”

It also shows the prejudice of the judicial system putting Chief Dan George in prison when no one actually saw the murder. Is there any reason why not the First Nation’s members are angry but they are wrong in blaming Will who simply saw Chief Dan George arguing with his parents and not killing them. Yes prejudice can go in many directions.

How can we categorize such a film? Psycho/horror/social realism?

A suspenseful well measured film.

The film was written, directed and edited by Nicholas Treeshin.

You can see the trailer here  https://vimeo.com/335626738

The film will be shown starting on June 4th 2021 on Video on Demand.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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