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Danièle J. Suissa
Tenuously based on the legends of Easter Island, Chile, this story details a civil war between the two tribes on the island: the Long Ears and the Short Ears. A warrior from the ruling class falls in love with a girl from the lower class, and must decide on his position in a time of great civil unrest. The ruling class are demanding larger and larger Moai (stone statues), a task which the lower class and the island ecology are more and more reluctant to provide. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
"I don't need this, priest. I've got chicken entrails to read." Charting the downfall of the idyllic Easter Island into civil war and cannibalism through the rivalry of a pair of former childhood friends, the privileged Long Ear Jason Scott Lee and working class Short Ear Easai Morales, for the hand of Sandrine Holt, Rapa Nui may be bonkers but it's great fun. Naturally the girl doesn't have much choice in the matter, ending up bricked in a cave as prize for the winner in the annual Bird Man competition. No flying is involved, but plenty of running, mountain climbing, swimming in shark-infested waters and dirty tricks are, but the film has weightier matters on its mind too. It's allegory writ large, with delightfully insane chief Eru Potaka-Dewes insisting on ever bigger Moai statues being built, oblivious to the impending disaster deforestation and overpopulation are bringing ever closer, let alone the increasing murmurs of rebellion from the put upon working stiffs. It all ends badly in every sense of the word, but Potaka-Dewes' final scene when the White Canoe finally arrives for his chosen people is a gem of WTF? comedy and the lines "What did you think salvation would look like ? Had to be the hats" may well sear themselves on your memory for life..
Seemingly made as a peace offering after producer Kevin Costner locked director Kevin Reynolds out of the cutting room of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, it plays like a mixture of Michael Powell's Edge of the World, Murnau's Tabu and a cable channel show about one of those extreme sports you can't believe is a real sport with added National Geographic nudity (but only from the ladies) and some great Scope visuals. It's not exactly historically or even ethnically accurate, with most of the Easter Islanders played by Maoris (you can spot Cliff Curtis as a ticked-off Short Ear), but it carries you along with its own sweeping insanity.
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