Once were Warriors Review

PIC Once-Were-Warriors

The film Once Were Warriors is a profound story of the life of a New Zealand Maori family set in the 1990s. The film remarkably depicts the horrors of living in poverty and low-income neighborhoods as well as the challenges faced to live a normal life.
From my point of view, this film seems to function as social commentary among parts of the New Zealand cities. In my theory, this movie could have been produced with the means to send a message toward audiences around the world to the awareness of alcohol abuse and family violence. As a kid growing up in the 90s, I had wonderful parents and family members growing up. But I did know a couple kids around my neighborhood that had torn family members who behaved just like the sort of family depicted in the film. It is very sad knowing that these sorts of issues can be all too real and should never be ignored.
I heard some students at the end of class speaking about how the movie’s gruesome scenes were very hard to watch, but I am glad the writers of the film did not hold back. In my opinion, the movie Once Were Warriors serves as a promotion of change by showing the audience of the problems of alcoholism and poverty as realistically as possible, while giving them a sense of justice to be done.
Amongst these functions, this movie also displays the relationship between the Maori culture and the impact of western culture over the decades of the 20th century. Almost right from the beginning of the film, we see what seems to be a beautiful landscape in nature but as the camera zooms out, we find that it is only a picture on a billboard. Reminisce of what once was a beautiful land has now become a city slum. Such a powerful scene, in the first 30 seconds of the movie basically sums up the entire theme. We then see the mother of the family (Beth Heke) walking the streets of the city. Right under the billboard she is pushing a shopping cart through an alley, gazing at her home only a block away. This implies to us that she is unemployed and living in a broken neighborhood.
Their culture known as the Maori are the original inhabitants of New Zealand. Before British colonialist arrived, the Maori had their own empire along with their warrior traditions. But their culture slowly decayed and favored more western style as with many other countries. As the movie certainly implies “once were warriors” which I think in my opinion meant that once upon a time they were a much greater era of the Maori. Much different than the result of what they are currently living in a heartbroken slum. Much similar in our experience with Hawaiian Sovereignty is faced with today.
My thoughts on this movie exceed my exceptions. I wasn’t very sure what this movie was going to be about in the first place. But it does bring warmth knowing that this movie was released during a time, which this was all too real with pacific islanders. I’m not too sure about recommending someone to watch this movie without a warning because there are graphic scenes in this film. But I think in order to fully understand and to make you believe what it was like, there needed to include the realistic element. Definitely a film to remember as a historical significance to New Zealand and Maori people.


2 thoughts on “Once were Warriors Review

  1. I like your thoughts about the director trying to send out a message to viewers in hopes of opening their eyes to the dangers of alcohol abuse within a family. The film really does expose to the audience how the influence of alcohol can change people’s personalities which can cause harm, both physically and emotionally to those around them. I also like that you analyzed the title Once Were Warriors and talked about the history of the Maori culture and how it was dominated by British Colonials. It displays how the land was once beautiful and peaceful and had now turned into a poverty stricken land.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the beginning i thought the film had terrible acting. like, so bad. then i realized most of it was faked. i think on purpose because of al the heavy themes the film covered.
    the violence was extreme, but then again how much violence are we exposed to in our daily lives. a lot more than we think…
    all in all it was interesting to me to learn about the Maori people and Hawaiian history in that aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

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