Wild Indian (2021): Lyle Mitchell Corbine’s Thriller, Starring Michael Greyeyes

Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. wrote and directed Wild Indian, a thriller starring Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer, Jesse Eisenberg and Kate Bosworth.

The tale begins with a brief scene set in the past, as a Native American man hunts in the woods. He appears to be suffering from smallpox, and his wife at home is dying.

In 1988, young Ojibwe boy Makwa lives in Wisconsin. Abused by his father at home and bullied at school, he only has one friend, his cousin, Teddo. Makwa develops a crush on a girl at school, and becomes envious of James, who succeeds in drawing her attention.

Cut to 2019: Makwa is living in California and has changed his name to Michael. He is a successful businessman, married to white wife, Greta, raising their infant son Francis. Makwa has shed most traces of his prior Native American life in Wisconsin, though he is careful to use his identity when it helps to advance him professionally.

Greta tells Makwa that she is pregnant with another child, and after some hesitancy, he reassures her that he is happy about the news. Makwa then goes to the same strip club where he originally met Greta pays a stripper to let him choke her.

Back in California, Makwa receives his expected promotion. He returns home to Greta and shows her wound from getting shot, which has not healed. Makwa goes alone to the beach and stares at the waves.

The film cuts back to the Native American man with smallpox as he returns from the hunt. It then cuts back to Makwa, who collapses on the beach crying.

The film world premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Fest (where it had been developed), in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section.

Vertical Entertainment acquired distribution rights and released the film in September.

Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. was named one of the “10 Directors to Watch” for this film.

Michael Greyeyes was nominated for the Gotham Award for Outstanding Lead Performance.

Wild Indian received 4 Spirit Award nominations, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Male Lead (Michael Greyeyes), and Best Supporting Male (Chaske Spencer), but failed to win in any of those categories.

Michael Greyeyes as Makwa (“Michael Peterson”)
Phoenix Wilson as young Makwa
Chaske Spencer as Teddo
Julian Gopal as young Teddo
Jesse Eisenberg as Jerry
Kate Bosworth as Greta Peterson
Jenna Leigh Green as Ivy
Lisa Gromarty as Cammy
Scott Haze as Father Daniels