Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
New Zealand, 1994. Communicado Productions, New Zealand Film Commission, Avalon/NFU, New Zealand On Air. Screenplay by Riwia Brown, based on the novel by Alan Duff. Cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh. Produced by Robin Scholes. Music by Murray Grindlay, Murray McNabb. Production Design by Michael Kane. Costume Design by Pauline Bowkett. Film Editing by Michael Horton.
Fascinating, intense drama about the life of a Maori family in New Zealand, and the many troubles they suffer thanks to the destructive behaviour of their alcoholic father (Temuera Morrison). Rena Owen is excellent as the mother of this damaged family, now at the point of deciding what she must do to keep her five children safe from both the struggles within their group as well as what they face from a very cold and bigoted outside world. Excellent direction by Lee Tamahori with stylish photography by The Piano‘s cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh, this film was such a hit in its native country upon release in 1994 that New Zealand was the only place in the world where Jurassic Park wasn’t the number one box-office draw.