Review: War Pony
Official Synopsis: The interlocking stories of two young Oglala Lakota men, Bill (Jojo Bapteise Whiting) and Matho (LaDanian Crazy Thunder) growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Director Riley Keough met Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy, two extras on the set of American Honey who shared their Rez stories, and in the years since came on as co-writers. Gina Gammell joins Keough in the director's chair and you can tell the women put a lot of work into working with the Lakota tribes and making sure Native voices shined through, despite having two white directors. You have to appreciate the effort
The film itself is bound to draw comparisons to the popular and wonderful show Reservation Dogs. I thought of them too, especially during Matho's scenes. But aside from just being about day to day life on the Rez, that's where their similarities end. War Pony is bleak and slow moving.
For a cast of nearly all first time actors, everyone was excellent. White and Crazy Thunder really carry this film and I hope find many opportunities in the future. While I didn't love this film, it felt quite derivative of Chloe Zhao's early work, There's always more room for native stories and I hope we keep getting them.