January, 1980: Windwalker

Windwalker is a complicated movie by today’s standards. You can try to avoid the uncomfortable nature of the film’s lack of Native American actors by saying that “it was filmed in the 80s” or “it’s just non-traditional casting,” but that really won’t do. There’s no way around it, this movie is dated. Very dated.

I digress.windwalker-movie-poster-1981-1020248576

In our review, we tried to look at the few positives that exist in this movie: there
are some Native American actors, most of the movie’s dialogue is in the native language of the Cheyenne and the Crow (the two tribes in the film), the plot centers entirely around the feud between the two clans, so there are no “cowboys and Indians,” and well… that’s about it.

Despite receiving a boat-load of nostalgic reviews on both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, this film falls flat in virtually every facet. The script suffers from clunky flashbacks and diluted themes/character development. The acting across the board is, in general, okay; but not even Trevor Howard can help me empathize with Windwalker’s journey. The location and costumes work well within the context of the film, but they are incredibly underutilized and get lost within the glaring problems presented by the rest of the movie.

In the end, we felt that is was nice that the film’s director, Kieth Merrill, attempted to create some authenticity by casting a few Native American actors and by using the native languages of both tribes throughout most of the film. However, these niceties couldn’t make up for a poorly conceived script, average to below average performances, clumsy flashback scenes, and under-utilization of the location.

-Matt

Matt's rating: 1.5/5

Gabe's rating: 1.5/5

Rewind Cinema composite: 3/10

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