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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.07.19] Canada thriller mystery

With a pair of short films and a long-list of TV credits to his name, writer/director Nicholas Treeshin makes his feature film debut with Thunderbird. Part mystery and part supernatural thriller, the film stars Colten Wilke as Will Brook, a reclusive fisherman who returns home to help in the search for his missing sister.

Will’s return isn’t an easy one. He and his family have a fraught history with the townsfolk and he’s not exactly welcome but Will is determined to help the lead investigator Ivy (Natalie Brown) and local cop Joe Fletcher (Aaron Douglas), solve the mystery of his sister’s disappearance - and perhaps also find her in the process.

Treeshin’s experience behind the camera is clearly on display in Thunderbird. He and cinematographer Alfonso Chin capture the Pacific Northwest in all its rugged beauty but the film is particularly memorable for its storytelling. Treeshin tackles a wide array of themes including family legacy, racism and bias. Thunderbird also incorporates First Nations traditions and mythology into the story in a way that feels authentic and essential to the storytelling and not simply appropriated just for the sake of it.

Thunderbird leans heavily into the mystery and the family drama, which propels the story forward and makes the film more palpable for general audiences but those that prefer something a bit more challenging will appreciate the underlying themes Treeshin incorporates into the film as well as the movie’s more mystical underpinnings which lead to a truly horrific moment in the final act.

Thunderbird is a promising feature debut.

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