It’s a story as old as the United States itself: American business interests push white men into Indigenous lands, where they displace and impose their own rule of law on an otherwise sovereign group of people. The docudrama ‘The Wind & The Reckoning,’ directed by David L. Cunningham, tells the true story of a group of Native Hawaiians who resisted government-mandated exile set up to deal with an epidemic. leprosy in Hawaii in the late 1800s. A provisional government, set up after American businessmen overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani and dissolved the Kingdom of Hawai’i, forced natives suspected of infection to travel to the island of Moloka’i. There, marriages were no longer recognized and thousands of people died and were buried in unmarked graves.
“The Wind & The Reckoning” follows Pi’ilani (Lindsay Marie Anuhea Watson), her husband, Ko’olau (Jason Scott Lee), and their son, Kalei (Kahiau Perreira), as they fight to stay together after the last two are infected. As Pi’ilani, who never contracted leprosy, says in a voiceover: “No man, no government could break the ties of marriage and family.
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t pack the emotional punch that the subject matter warrants. “The Wind & The Reckoning” centers around the gunfights between Ko’olau and the soldiers, and one would have liked to get a sense of the larger world outside of that battle – the people in the leper colony, for example, or the political turmoil of the time. The story seems too self-contained and the characters too monotonous, which, despite the merits of the subject matter, makes it difficult to feel immersed in their world.
The Wind and Judgment
Unclassified. Duration: 1h34. In theaters.