(KTSF by Sean Au)
The highest grossing local film in New Zealand is a simple drama with comedic elements that tells the story of a father and his sons.
In a seaside town in 1984, 11-year-old Boy (James Rolleston) of Maori descent, is just like any other boy of his age. He likes playing with his friends after school and worships Michael Jackson, all the while trying to get the attention of a girl in school. Boy’s mother died in labor and his father has been long-absent serving a jail sentence. Boy picks up the responsibility of taking care of his three other siblings. His father, Alamein (Taika Waititi) returns to the town and appears to enjoy the company of his children, but prefers to live as a town gangster. Boy becomes disappointed as father and son reverse roles.
Director Taika Waititi, who also wrote and acted in the movie, tells the story with a casual tone, despite depicting an awkward father-and-son relationship which is the core of the movie. The movie is sprinkled with some primitive and simple animation, and scenes of Alamein impersonating Michael Jackson in fantasy sequences, adds a comedic touch to the story.
Mr Waititi says the central theme of the movie is loss (of a parent, of Boy’s childhood) which he wants to film differently. “It can also be a humorous look at the way that we try and deal with loss. Not every film needs to be hitting people over the head with drama, tragedy and pathos,” says Waititi. “I want to try and do it with a lighter touch.”
Mr Waititi also uses non actors James Rolleston and Te Aho Eketone-Whitu to play the two young brothers in the movie. Their performances are sincere, effective and likable. Getting to experience their growth over the duration of the movie gives us an additional pleasure to seek out this gem.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Video courtesy of Unison.
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