7.4/10
309
11 user 9 critic

Indian Horse (2017)

Follows the life of Canadian First Nations boy, Saul Indian Horse, as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism.

Writers:

Dennis Foon, Richard Wagamese (based on the novel by)
Reviews
8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sladen Peltier ... Saul (6 Yrs.)
Forrest Goodluck ... Saul (15 Yrs.)
Ajuawak Kapashesit ... Saul (22 Yrs.)
Michiel Huisman ... Father Gaston
Martin Donovan ... Jack Lanahan
Michael Murphy ... Father Quinney
Edna Manitowabi Edna Manitowabi ... Naomi
Melanie McLaren ... Ruth
Johnny Issaluk ... Sam
Skye Pelletier Skye Pelletier ... Benjamin (11 Yrs.)
Evan Adams ... Evan
Lisa Cromarty Lisa Cromarty ... Karen
Michael Lawrenchuk ... Fred Kelly
Will Strongheart ... Virgil
Tristen Marty-Pahtaykan ... Buddy Blackwolf
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Storyline

Follows the life of Canadian First Nations boy, Saul Indian Horse, as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Website

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 2018 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Cheval indien See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

That a good portion of this movie was filmed in the surrounding area of Killarney Ontario. A small town of 300 people See more »

Quotes

Saul (22 Yrs.): They told me to tell my story...
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User Reviews

 
An authentic, emotional and intellectual drama that should be watched in Canadian history classes
18 April 2018 | by klusebaSee all my reviews

Based upon Richard Wagamese's novel of the same name, Indian Horse tells an authentic, hopeful yet tear-jerking story that too many First Nations people have gone through in Canada over the course of the past two centuries and beyond.

The movie tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway boy from Northwestern Ontario, whose family runs away from white men who are forcing children to go to residential schools where they must assimilate to European culture by any means necessary. Isolated in the wilderness, Saul's brother dies of a disease he caught at school and his parents, who already got assimilated to Christianity, decide to move south to bury their child. Saul stays behind with his old grandmother who gets increasingly sick but his parents never return. His grandmother and Saul decide to join some family members before the harsh winter starts but the weak grandmother dies on the journey. Saul gets discovered by two white men who bring him to a residential school. He witnesses severe mental and physical abuse as First Nations children aren't allowed to speak their mother tongues or live their traditional lifestyles. The only thing that makes Saul's desolate life more joyful is when he discovers ice hockey. He watches games on television with a young priest who also builds a hockey rink and organizes competitive tournaments. Saul's skills get discovered as a teenager and he moves south to the mining town Manitouwadge where he lives in a caring foster family and plays in a local hockey team. He soon becomes a respected star player but also starts facing racism from fans and opponents. A scout then convinces the young adult to move to Toronto where Saul plays for the farm team of the Toronto Maple Leafs and has a promising career ahead of him. Saul however cracks under the increasing pressure of being targeted by racist fans and opponents on an almost daily base and quits hockey to live the life of a nomad, accepting odd jobs between Thunder Bay and Sudbury. He develops a serious addiction to alcohol and is told by a doctor that his next binge drinking could lead to his death. Saul realizes he must face and overcome his demons of the past and find a place called home to save his life.

There are numerous elements that make this film one of the best dramas in recent memory. First of all, the story that is told here is relevant as it exemplifies the cruel fate of many First Nations members. Secondly, the movie is very emotional, meandering constantly between sadness and hope in all stages of the main character's life. Thirdly, the acting performances are absolutely great as the main character doesn't speak much but tells us so much more about his inner demons through facial expressions. Fourthly, the settings are intriguing and shift from beautiful isolated landscapes over isolated schools to mining towns and big cities. Fifthly, camera, lighting and sound techniques are calm, decent and precise which suits the slightly gloomy mood and slow pace of the movie very well. Sixthly, it's interesting that the movie introduces us to distinct characters and not just racist antagonists but also encouraging coaches, welcoming foster parents and driven team mates. Seventhly, I liked that the movie ended with a minor twist that makes us re-evaluate the scenes we have seen prior to that moment. Indian Horse certainly offers a lot of food for thought.

Indian Horse is a movie that should be watched in history classes at Canadian high schools as it exemplifies the fate of many First Nations members in that country over the past two centuries and beyond. Indian Horse is authentic, emotional and intellectual all at once which makes it one of the best dramas in recent memory. Anyone who is interested in the history of the New World should watch this film. Those who like ice hockey should also give it a try. Anyone intrigued by Canadian culture should also give it a shot. To keep it short, there isn't any reason to not watch this brilliant movie.


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