ImagineNATIVE 2016: I Am Thy Weapon

i-am-thy-weapon

Directed by Razelle Benally, I Am Thy Weapon is a quick short narrative about reconciling the past and learning to move on. This story takes the form of a pair of sisters, Reagan and Daya, and Daya’s desire to reconcile with her past. Their story is told in flashbacks while Daya returns to a place where something traumatic happened to them. Visually, this is accomplished by muting the color palate of the flashbacks, and treating the edges of the screen with a hazy filter. By contrast, sequences in the present are vivid and sharp.

The story itself is rather vague, but it is made clear that Reagan and Daya were into the graffiti scene in their local town, and that this cost Reagan her life somehow. Now, Daya is back in town after being away for school, and she has to come to terms with the loss of her sister.

Unfortunately, the actors cast in this short story aren’t really up to the task of portraying this weighty subject matter. Daya is played by MorningStar Angeline, and she is wooden and stilted in her line readings. There are only a few actors with speaking roles in the film, and many of them have this same issue. It is hard to take much of the drama seriously when the performances ring so hollow.

I Am Thy Weapon still has a powerful and cathartic conclusion, most likely because it takes advantage of visual storytelling. But ultimately this film is simply too under-developed to reach its aspirations of profundity. As the first effort from Benally, it certainly displays a talented directorial eye, but the execution leaves much to be desired.

Screens (as part of #warpaint):
Sunday, October 23, 2:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tickets can be purchased at the ImagineNATIVE website.