Once Were Warriors reaction/review

I have to say I didn’t really care for the film. The camera work was plain and the sets were also average, but I guess that would add to the film’s setting. The story arcs that went nowhere or were just forgotten about were what annoyed me the most about the film. The movie could have given us more about Nig’s interaction with the gang he joined or how they view their culture. Instead, once he joined him and the gang more or less disappeared from the movie until the very end. Boogie’s arc was also barely explored when he went to the foster home. That would have been a good opportunity for the film to go into more traditional beliefs and rituals of the Maori. Frustratingly again, that barely got any screen time. Speaking of the other siblings, the two youngest children of the family felt unnecessary to the story and added nothing to it. They were just there to try to make the audience feel more sympathy for the other characters and make Grace’s death seem sadder. If they weren’t there the film wouldn’t really be all that different. The whole Maori culture was barely touched upon and usually felt out of place when characters brought it up. Beth’s final speech was the biggest example of this. It not only felt out of place, but Rena Owen’s delivery of the lines felt stiff and forced. Almost like those little “moral lesson of the episode” from old cartoons. I’m probably being harsher than usual on this film due to it not being the types I like. The story is really standard and a dime a dozen. I feel there are too many films that use the whole poor family, alcoholism, bad parents, kids turning to crime/gangs, and the rest of the usual set ups. I would have liked it more if it delved more into Maori culture. It could have focused on the two brothers and given an old versus new interpretation of the culture. Nig and the gang could have been a modern interpretation with Boogie and the foster home, plus Mr. Bennett, would be the more traditional Maori culture views. The film could have even had the two groups/views clash in the film through each brother. A lot of it just felt played out and stuff you’d see in pretty much any film or show with a similar setting. It doesn’t help that I didn’t care for the majority of the characters and the ones I was interested in were pushed off-screen or went nowhere with their stories. It was okay, but it’s definitely not the type I care to watch or are interested in.

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