Thursday, 25 March 2010

Boy: Movie Review

Boy: Movie Review

Rating: 9/10
Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone-Whitu
Director: Taika Waititi
Unmissable.
Quite simply that's the only way to describe this latest film from the genius behind Eagle Vs Shark, director Taika Waititi.
It's the story of Boy (a superb James Rolleston) and is set in 1984 on the rural East coast of New Zealand.
Boy's a dreamer - he loves Michael Jackson and lives with a clutch of cousins, his Nan and his brother Rocky (who believes he has super powers after his mum died giving birth to him). He also believes he'll score the girl of his dreams.
He imagines his dad, a deep sea diver, carpenter and owner of some totally boss Michael Jackson moves is overseas - the reality is his father Alamein (a glorious Waititi) is serving a stretch behind bars for robbery.
One day, his dad gets out - and both he and Boy gradually bond. But as the pair start to find their way in the world, and despite Alamein's love for ET, Boy's forced to face the reality of his life.
Poignant, hilarious and heartfelt - and unmissable, Boy is a beaut of a piece of New Zealand rural nostalgia, crammed full of funny moments and heartbreak as the reality of Boy's life starts to take sharp focus in this coming of age vignette from Waititi.
While there is a measure of the quirky, there's also a lot of humanity in the story as Boy begins to realise that his father isn't everything he wants him to be and that he doesn't want to grow up to be like his inept dad. Likewise Waititi's Alamein is a beautifully textured performance; by turns he's comic relief, then simmering violent resentment and finally accepting what life's given him. Te Aho Eketone-Whitu's subtle performance masks a sadness in Rocky at being bereft of a mother and facing the guilt she died giving birth - in fact both the central performances from the two young leads are just beautifully sublime and will see you go through the gamut of emotions.
Waititi's world is one I'd love to spend more time in - from its family message about being true to yourself and your whanau, to some wonderful fantasy scenes and animations, I really can't wait to see what he'll do next.

From the opening quote (from ET no less) and with the strains of Poi E bursting onto the screen - right to the final moments (this critic won't spoil those but let's just say, stick around when it looks like it's over), Boy is a Kiwi delight and deserves to be loved worldwide.

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