This sequel to the New Zealand-set drama "Once Were Warriors" revisits alcoholic Maori man Jake Heke (Temuera Morrison) and his wife, Beth (Rena Owen), who have separated, largely due to ... See full summary »
Ivan is the fierce patriarch of a family of Croatian refugees in Auckland. Nina is his daughter, ready to live on her own, despite his angry objections. Eddie is the Maori she takes as her ... See full summary »
An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.
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An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his ... See full summary »
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
"Crooked Earth" is a powerfully engaging movie that delves into controversial, yet highly important issues. These issues include- land disputes, cultural oppression and misunderstanding, family dynamics, and generational differences. Whilst such issues may be unsettling to some viewers, they are a timely reminder of the tensions that exist in this world and if left unchecked, they have the potential to destroy us all (whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally). Moreover, the material covered in "Crooked Earth" is highly universal, and symbolises the struggle that many groups experience in this world.
Essentially, "Crooked Earth" focuses on the strained relationship between two Maori brothers- Will (Temuera Morrison) has just returned from army duties in East Timor and is somewhat reluctant to face the traditions and responsibilities associated with the Maori culture. Alternatively, Carl (Lawerence Makaore) is embittered by the way Maori are treated in New Zealand, and strongly advocates the need for Maori to stand up for their rights. Both men are entangled in a conflict over the treatment of tribal land (not to mention their ideological differences), and this ultimately leads to the inevitable 'showdown'.
A notable feature of "Crooked Earth" is the stunning cinematography. The rural landscape shots are truly breathtaking, and it clearly illustrates the strong connection between the Maori and the land. The performances in the movie are also worthy of praise, with Temuera Morrison and Lawerence Makaore portraying the troubled brothers with sincerity and control. Probably the only downfall is the inclusion of the 'Drug-Lord/ Henchman' character. Not only does he look out of place in the movie, he only serves to detract from the main issues at hand.
At times, it seems as if "Crooked Earth" tries to cover more territory than it actually can. This leads to some issues not being as well developed as they could be. For instance, we never seem to get to the heart of the relationship between Will and his daughter.
In all, I find "Crooked Earth" to be a beautifully sad story that raises many important issues. It is highly thought-provoking movie, and is therefore open to many interpretations.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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