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Crooked Earth (2001)

5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 188 users  
Reviews: 7 user

Forces of tradition and tribal pride collide with government authority.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Will Bastion
...
Ripeka Bastion
...
Kahu Bastion
Quinton Hita ...
Api
Nancy Brunning ...
Sydney Jackson ...
Pettigrew
George Henare ...
Tipene
Calvin Tuteao ...
Sergeant Ropiha
Stan Wolfgramm ...
Timo
...
Huiarangi
William Davis ...
Gus
Eliza Bidois ...
Grace
Mabel Wharekawa ...
Aunty Margaret (as Wharekawa-Burt)
Tairoa Morrison ...
Ariki
Mark Nua ...
Iosefa
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Storyline

Will Bastion returns home from the army after an absence of 20 years to bury his father, the former chief of thee Maori tribe, Ngati Kaipuku. The eldest son, he is reluctant to inherit his fathers role, so it is taken more willingly by his younger brother, Kahu. Kahu is the leader of a band of drug dealers and trouble-makers who ride horses through the middle of town, wrecking peoples gardens. Under the guise of refusal of a land settlement, Kahu makes a large marijuana deal with some murdering city folk. Will must choose between loyalty for his brother and his father, Maori tradition, and contemporary financial issues. Written by kwedgwood@hotmail.com

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

23 August 2001 (New Zealand)  »

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User Reviews

 
Crooked Script
22 August 2001 | by (Auckland, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

I went to Crooked Earth to see a piece of New Zealand. What I found was a badly scripted and badly acted echo of the people I know.

Great moments between characters – including many of Temuera Morrison and Lawrences Makoares scenes together – were often ruined by long and wordy monologues that the actors were forced to stumble through. Beautiful and ill-fitting phrases rattled away from Lawrence in particular as if he were the new Maori Messiah at his pulpit of beer crates.

When watching any film with Maori actors, I've found that I can always pick a half dozen characters that remind me of someone in my life. With Crooked Earth I struggled to find one key character that rung true for the entire two hours. Most – including Wiremu and Peka – wound up saying or doing things that I didn't understand and couldn't connect with. By the end of the movie the writer had succeeded in alienating the audience where the Maori weren't able to relate to it and the Pakeha were therefore given license to dismiss it. My feeling is that the movies message – or at least the main one of several that was being lobbed at the audience – is important enough to avoid using character extremities. Unfortunately, no one who read the script before it was filmed thought to pass this piece of advice on.

The soundtrack was invasive, and, as irritating as that horrible `bing-bong' noise that they laced through `Eyes Wide Shut'. The audience was not so subtly auto-cued to laugh, cry or be angry when the music changed. It reminded me of Darth Vader's entrance music in Star Wars: obvious and mildly amusing.

I think that there are some people out there that might enjoy this film. It's funny in parts, has a fair amount of action and has some really powerful scenes. Calvin Tuteao and Quentin Hita did bang up jobs as well. As a whole though, I didn't enjoy the experience as much as I know I should have. Barb Wire, Speed 2, The Island of Dr Moreau and Crooked Earth look like they're going to be Tem's quartet of crap.


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