Mohawk: A Very Personal Thriller

Justin Rain in Mohawk. Photo by Michael Wigle

Taking place over the course of one day during the War of 1812, Mohawk is a thriller that reminds us of the costs of war.

Director Ted Geoghegan, who co-wrote the film with Grady Hendrix, takes us back to the Niagara Frontier towards the end of the War of 1812.  For the U.S. history buffs out there, there were indeed battles that were located in the Niagara Frontier during the War of 1812.  Historically speaking, for what it’s worth, the Mohawk people did ally themselves with the British during the war.  At the time that the film was set in the summer of 1814, the Iroquois were fighting against the Iroquois at the Battle of Chippewa.

The war has been going on for two years along the frontier.  Spending several months among the Mohawk, Joshua Pinsmail (Eamon Farren), a British Indiana agent, does his best to recruit the people but a tribe elder, Wenthawi (Sheri Foster), is resistant to the promises of arms and Mohawk sovereignty.  Even as she resists, her daughter, Oak (Kaniehtiio Horn) and the chief’s son, Calvin (Justin Rain), have different ideas.  They don’t want to have the Americans in their territory anymore.

It turns out that Oak is interested in Joshua but the British-Indian Department summons him back across the pond.  While they spend their last night together, Calvin burns down an American trading post and the reality is that the blame will fall on Oak’s tribe.  Genius planning, right?!?

There are a handful of surviving Americans and they go after them as they believe them to be the party responsible for the damage.  The Americans include Hezekiah Holt (Ezra Buzzington), Myles (Ian Colletti), Colonel Hawkes (Jack Gwaltney), Lachlan Allsopp (Jonathan Huber), Yancy (Noah Segan), and Sherwood Beal (Robert Longstreet).  The Americans will do whatever it means in order to survive, even if it means killing another person.

The War of 1812 makes for an interesting selection for a period thriller.  It’s not a war that most filmmakers would even consider to say the least.  Most filmmakers would opt for the Civil War or possibly even the American Revolution.  One of the positives of Mohawk is the diverse casting.  Throw in Geoghegan’s other job and it makes directing a film an even more impressive feat.

The crew does a marvelous job at recreating the 1800s through the clothing.  With all the development in this area, it essentially limits the locations in which they could shoot.  In this case, filmmakers shot the film in the wilderness and looked to films like Ravenous (1999) as an influence for how to shoot the film.

Mohawk is a stark reminder that war can be very bloody.  It should only come as a last resort.

DIRECTOR:  Ted Geoghegan
SCREENWRITERS:  Ted Geoghegan and Grady Hendrix
CAST:  Kaniehtiio Horn, Ezra Buzzington, Eamon Farren, Justin Rain, Ian Colletti, Noah Segan, Jonathan Huber, Robert Longstreet, Sherri Foster, and David La Haye

Dark Sky Films will release Mohawk in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD platforms on Friday, March 2, 2018.


Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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