A nail-biting rescue thriller wrapped up in a chilling vision of near-dystopia, this Kiwi-Canadian co-production tackles Canada’s dark colonial roots through strong genre craft.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
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A Canada-New Zealand co-production written and directed by Cree-Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet, Night Raiders explores the consequences of colonialism in a fleet, tense dash through a future world on the brink of collapse.
A disastrous war has left North America in the throes of military occupation; children are forcibly adopted by the state, brainwashed into becoming soldiers for the oppressing army. Cree woman Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, in a star-making performance of quiet desperation) must team up with the Night Raiders, a group of indigenous radicals, after her daughter is taken by the occupation.
The film moves in the same sphere as Children of Men or Logan, its characters navigating despairing and dilapidated landscapes with an escalating sense of urgency. What gives Night Raiders its spark is its refreshing indigenous worldview, at once celebrating and making space for the continuance of a people decimated by colonial forces, incorporating pointed commentary about assimilation and the erasure of culture.
Sensitive, deeply-felt direction from debut filmmaker Goulet marks her as a real talent to watch in the burgeoning field of indigenous genre filmmakers.
“Goulet gives us a world of dilapidated high rises, grey clouds and war-torn despair as robot drones relentlessly patrol the skies looking for children … [The film] uses our awareness of its genre conventions to raise awareness of the oppression and destruction of indigenous people that has been orchestrated for centuries – long before dystopian fiction like Night Raiders became fashionable.” — Tim Grierson, ScreenDaily