Once Were Warriors (1994)

LEE TAMAHORI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

New Zealand, 1994.  Communicado Productions, New Zealand Film Commission, Avalon/NFU, New Zealand On Air. Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

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 ().  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.

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