FIN REVIEW: Night Raiders an unsettling dystopian metaphor for residential school system

I don’t think any film at FIN was more relevant this year than Night Raiders. This may play out like a sci-fi thriller, but it’s impossible not to see some horrifying real-life parallels.

Writer-director Danis Goulet manages to explore the residential school system with intricacy and boldness that’s frankly required viewing.

Goulet, winner of the Emerging Talent Award at TIFF, creates a spellbinding film about a world where everything has gone down the tubes, and the government are attempting to provide education for young kids in institutions.

They promise a better life, but completely isolate children from their parents in the process – this leaves adults in a conundrum.

Do they keep their children with them and try to instil values and education without a physical school structure, or give them up and hope the government has their best interests at heart?

It soon becomes obvious the latter isn’t even true, and a mother joins vigilantes to get her daughter back. This is a dizzying, intense film not for the faint of heart.

The performances, chiefly from Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant and an unrecognizable Amanda Plummer are categorically fantastic. There’s so much emotion here, and it drives the film.

It’s a hard watch, but given the atrocities committed in this country that have now been uncovered, people need to see this. We need to understand just how seedy our past is if there’s going to be reconciliation, and movies like this may just be a starting point for tough conversations.

4/5 Stars

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