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Utu (1984)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  27 June 1984 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 577 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 4 critic

In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal ... See full summary »

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Title: Utu (1984)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anzac Wallace ...
Te Wheke
Bruno Lawrence ...
Williamson
Tim Elliott ...
Col. Elliot
Kelly Johnson ...
Lt. Scott
Wi Kuki Kaa ...
Wiremu
Tania Bristowe ...
Kura
Ilona Rodgers ...
Emily Williamson
Merata Mita ...
Matu
Faenza Reuben ...
Hersare
Tom Poata ...
Puni
Martyn Sanderson ...
Vicar
...
Belcher
Dick Puanaki ...
Eru
Sean Duffy ...
Cpl. Jones
Ian Watkin ...
Doorman
Edit

Storyline

In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal leads him to seek utu (revenge). The settler Williamson in turn seeks revenge after Te Wheke attacks his homestead. Meanwhile Wiremu, an officer for the British, seems to think that resistance is futile. Written by Brian Rawnsley <rawnsleb@natlib.govt.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1984 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hämnden  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Utu is translated (by the Maori people) not as revenge, but as balanced exchange or reciprocity. See more »

Goofs

One of the characters observes "Something wicked this way comes", quoting the title of the Ray Bradbury novel written 100 years later. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cavalry vs. Indians, Kiwi-style.
4 February 2003 | by (North Hemis) – See all my reviews

Well-made actioner could have benefited from a script that took more time to establish characters and historical context. The film opens with a horrific massacre of a Maori village, which drives native soldier Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace) to swear a blood vendetta ('utu') against the white man. Unfortunately, there is no explanation given for the massacre, and we know nothing about Te Wheke except that until then he was a soldier in the white man's army.

Despite this narrative gap, the action which follows is reasonably compelling in the manner of a Don Siegel or John Sturges Western. Besides the strong performance by Wallace, Kelly Johnson is good as the baby-faced army lieutenant charged with introducing new-fangled 'commando' tactics from the Boer War, and Bruno Lawrence has a field day as a gun-obsessed homesteader who swears his own oath of vengeance against Te Wheke after his wife is killed. (Wait till you see the shotgun he puts together in his shed!) Geoff Murphy's direction is straightforward, if sometimes muddled during shootouts, and other pluses are the authentic period production design and weaponry, along with mobile camera-work by Graeme Cowley on rugged New Zealand landscapes.

Not a profound work, but entertaining for its historical milieu, based on real incidents. Be warned that the DVD transfer is not the best.


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