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Windwalker

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PG
1981

Embarking on a spiritual journey that explores the imperishable connection between human and nature, Windwalker, a 1980 film by director Kieth Merrill, stands as a vivid testament of Native American culture and tradition. Starring Trevor Howard, Nick Ramus, and James Remar, the film elegantly weaves a narrative that testifies both to the survival instinct and late-life introspection.

Windwalker revolves around the life of an elderly Cheyenne warrior, played impeccably by Trevor Howard, who serves as the titular character. The film opens with Windwalker on his deathbed in the harsh winter, surrounded by his kin in their simple yet sturdy tepee, where he starts reflecting on his life journey. A significant narrative device that defines the film is the flashbacks, guiding us through Windwalker's memories, profoundly colored by relentless survival struggles, brutal confrontations, everlasting friendships, and heart-touching kinship moments.

Set in the 18th century, the film vividly depicts Windwalker's early life as a robust, valiant warrior. After he is presumed dead during a raid attack and left behind by his tribe, he encounters series of events that transforms not just his life but his perspective toward it as well. His life takes a dramatic turn when he survives a bear attack, inviting us to explore the quintessential survivalist aspect of the tribal communities.

Much of the film is devoted to Windwalker's pursuit of his captured wife, Tashina, brilliantly portrayed by Serene Hedin, and encounter with a tribe of Crow Indians. As he zigzags across the boundless North American landscape, which is beautifully captured by cinematographer Reed Smoot, the audience is treated to moments of high emotional intensity, dynamism, and wisdom.

Alongside Windwalker's transcending journey, the roles played by other remarkable actors like Nick Ramus and James Remar help enrich the narrative. Ramus, seen as Windwalker's son Smiling Wolf, exemplifies bravery, empathy, and loyalty. In contrast, Remar's character, White Eagle, stands as an embodiment of aggressive perseverance and relentless pursuit of power.

Interestingly, the character of Windwalker is played by two actors - Trevor Howard in old age and James Remar in youth. This casting decision allows a clear demarcation of different phases of Windwalker's life, enhancing the depth of the narrative, and adding layers to the cinematic storytelling.

The truly immersive underscore of the film composed by Merrill Jenson deserves a special mention. Seamlessly blending with the film's vivid scenery and gripping action sequences, the music takes viewers on a sonorous roller-coaster ride that's both tranquil and stormy.

Shot in Utah and Colorado, Windwalker manipulates its settings skillfully, giving soul to the film through picturesque scenes that potently mirror the characters' emotional states — ranging from tranquil valleys and serene rivers to harsh deserts and rugged cold mountains. These landscapes serve as silent witnesses to Windwalker's journey, proving to be more than just picturesque backdrops.

The unconventional narrative approach of Windwalker - the use of native language with subtitles - not only maintains the authenticity of the tribes' communication pattern, but it also contributes to a raw and rich cinematic experience. This creative decision commendably gives an authentic voice to Native American culture and heritage.

On a more profound level, Windwalker stands as a cinematic remembrance of Native American tradition and culture while highlighting universal human themes. It invites its viewers to ponder age-old questions of existence, survival, demise, and beyond, reflecting on the notion of life, death, and the inevitable cycle of life.

In quintessence, Windwalker is an enriching feature film full of depth and emotion. Its plot, cast, cinematography, and score work harmoniously to paint a moving portrait of a time, a place, and a people long since past but enduring in the narrative of human history. It serves as a tribute to the spirit of survival, courage, resilience, and love that form the cornerstone of human existence. Hence, it is not only a movie for those interested in Native American culture but for anyone seeking a meaningful cinematic journey that takes them into the depths of human emotion and wisdom.

Windwalker is a Adventure, Drama, Western movie released in 1981. It has a runtime of 108 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.8..

How to Watch Windwalker

Where can I stream Windwalker movie online? Windwalker is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Plex, Tubi TV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Windwalker for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.8/10
Director
Kieth Merrill
Stars
Trevor Howard, Nick Ramus, James Remar
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