Tragedy seems to follow Nakomay wherever she goes. The mysterious Native American girl has lost her entire family to a vicious band of outlaws that are in relentless pursuit of her “kind”, tracking her down across the gorgeous Oregon landscape. After her sister is killed, Nakomay finds herself at the home of the compassionate Nelson […]
Tragedy seems to follow Nakomay wherever she goes. The mysterious Native American girl has lost her entire family to a vicious band of outlaws that are in relentless pursuit of her “kind”, tracking her down across the gorgeous Oregon landscape. After her sister is killed, Nakomay finds herself at the home of the compassionate Nelson family, who are no strangers to tragedy themselves. Ethel, her father, and her brother, Benjamin, welcome Nakomay into their lives with open arms, despite her guarded and troubled nature. She quickly bonds with Ethel over their shared losses, while Benjamin develops a tender fondness for the beautiful and intelligent Nakomay. Just as she begins to settle in to enjoy her newfound good fortune, trouble from her past seeks to destroy all Nakomay has come to hold dear — again. Set in 1887, near the close of the American Indian wars, Rising Free depicts a historical drama that aims to prove the spirit of racism and hate can be overcome with love and forgiveness.
Rising Free offers a stunning cinematic experience, creating a truly breakout first film for newly minted production company Lightfall Films. With captivating mountain views, flourishing fields, and beckoning oceans, the Pacific Northwest offers a positively lush backdrop for this rich historical drama. Fantastic costume and lighting design is on full display, with masterful direction and cinematography by Christian Johannesson that transports viewers on an epic dance across the Oregon Territory…if only for an hour or so. H.B. Johannesson’s weighty and frequently poetic writing soars the soul in some scenes, but falls flat in others, often due to poor delivery. The film is rounded off by an undoubtedly incredible score, created by Abel Hancock, capping off the audio-visual treat that is Rising Free. Johannesson’s style, tone, and command of the screen very much reminds me of the gripping film, Heart of Man, directed by Eric Esau.
Rising Free gets those faith-filled scenes absolutely spot-on, creating a genuine and compelling salvation story full of forgiveness and grace. Nakomay’s speech at the end is indeed powerful and fantastic writing, leaving viewers with much to “chew on” after the film is over. I personally wish more emphasis had been put on the issue of racial injustice within the film, but what is included was handled tactfully, so I commend the filmmakers for that. Overall, Rising Free is a visually stunning motion picture, with great values and a lovely story.
Unfortunately, due to cautionary levels of violence, Rising Free cannot be awarded the All Ages seal, but we are pleased to award Rising Free the Dove Seal of Approval for Ages 12+. This would be a great film for families or ministries to use as a conversation starter about racial reconciliation and solidarity. It’s also a perfect option for viewers who enjoy historical/period romance dramas such as Outlander, but want something clean and faith-based.
The Dove Take:
Rising Free is a visually and auditorily stunning motion picture, with great values and a lovely story.