A mohawk is a hairstyle that symbolizes one’s willingness to break out of their shell and show aggression. The style has evolved over many of years, but it still shows a sign of rebellion. It is safe to say that Ted Geoghegan’s recent film Mohawk features one of the most badass mohawks recently on screen, and it is dawned by a woman with one hell of an attitude.
Mohawk is Geoghegan’s follow up to his directorial debut We Are Still Here. It is a story about a love triangle dealing with the vengeful actions of American soldiers during the War of 1812. The triangle of passion involves a Mohawk tribe woman (Kaniehtiio Horn), a tribe man (Justin Rain), and a British soldier (Eamon Farren, Twin Peaks: The Return). Fed up with seeing their people murdered, one of the three lovers decides it would be best to torch the base camp of the Americans. Without knowledge, a few men escaped the conflagration and are now set out for revenge.
Representation in film is something that gets scrutinized a lot, and rightfully so. However, Mohawk features an actual Mohawk actress. Kaniehtiio Horn was born on the Kahnawake reserve in Quebec. She plays the female leader in the love triangle; and, by God, she plays it with such ferocity. Every emotion that Horn emotes comes out in a blaze of fury. The rest of the cast is wonderfully put together, but Horn was the breakout dominant female. Without giving away spoilers, her final act was absolutely cutthroat and satisfying for whoever watches.
There is a lot to unpack from this movie. It taps on issues of family, race, war, and love. One of the best things about this film is the accuracy. Finding out that most of this film not only stars an actual Mohawk, but was written by someone who is well versed on the history, and shot on the land that Mohawk called home during this era is something astonishing. Geoghegan puts so much respect into the subject matter and it shows.
At times Mohawk feels a little disproportionate in execution and throughout the movie there are some sparks missing, especially in the first half. Shaky cam gives the viewer a queasy feeling while watching the characters run throughout the wildlife, which is understandable yet can be hard to follow. However, this does not hold back admiration for the film upon end credits. If you are going into this thinking about Geoghegan’s debut film, be prepared to expect something completely different. Mohawk paves the way for exciting things to come for Geoghegan that many people will be on board for. Mohawk is a dark action/horror that succeeds with blood spouting action scenes that will please the eye.