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Spooked (2004)

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A thriller loosely based on Ian Wishart's book The Paradise Conspiracy, about the mysterious death of a New Zealander who happened upon international banking records after purchasing a used computer.



(screenplay), (book)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mort Whitman
Kevin Jones (as Chris Hobbs)
Andrea Kelland ...
Office Clearance Girl
Ian Mune ...
Dave Johnson
John Leigh ...
Jimmy Blick
Greg Johnson ...
Jonah Levine
Mike Taylor
Alison Bruce ...
Sheila Miller
Bill Thorpe
Lester Albright
Paul Barrett ...
George Drake
Geoff Murphy ...
Merata Mita ...
Fred's Wife
Ruby Elder


Investigative journalist Mort Whitman is onto the story of his lifetime, the most important story in the nation. It was huge involving a big pay-off from a multinational bank to a second-hand computer dealer Kevin Jones. Tracing the days leading up to Kevin's suspicious death, Mort reveals Kevin's increasing paranoia and erratic behavior through the eyes of his best mate Jimmy Blick and girlfriend Ruby Elder. What dangerous secrets had he stumbled upon? Did the forces - private security, police, SIS or CIA - that increasingly menaced his life, kill him? Or did he simply drink too much and crash his car? Mort is determined to get to the bottom of it, if it kills him. Written by NZFilm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


These people play by their own rules.





Release Date:

3 February 2005 (New Zealand)  »

Box Office


NZD 300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Inspired by the death of Paul White, who purchased some old Citibank computer hardware in June 1992 and was killed in unusual circumstances in September (as related in Ian Wishart's non-fiction bestseller "The Paradise Conspiracy"). See more »

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User Reviews

Geoff, Geoff, what were you thinking?
7 February 2005 | by (Brisvegas) – See all my reviews

Oh dear. I went into Spooked full of hope, dashed, sadly. For those of us who grew up in New Zealand in the 80s, Geoff Murphy's movies were pure magic. Goodbye Pork Pie was and still is one of my all time favourite movies. Utu- brilliant. The Quiet Earth- still a very special movie- highly original, thought provoking and pure Murphy- funny, profound, and utterly unique. He went to Hollywood, and fed the machine. He's back in New Zealand, and Spooked is the first narrative film released under his direction since he returned. Murphy has been talking Spooked up big time here in NZ- extended radio interviews, double page interviews in daily papers- the lot. Big time, by NZ standards. Murphy promised a return to form, no more Hollywood dreck- this will be good old fashioned Kiwi Murphy. Most reviews have been fawning in the press here in New Zealand, with the exception of Russell Baillie in the Herald. I went in really wanting to like this movie. Shame, that. I became disturbed when the floppy discs with the incriminating information were declared to be encrypted with PGP, "pretty powerful stuff", yep, takes a whole 5 seconds to crack 'em. Uh oh. For non-kiwis, the plot is based on a book about real events in the early nineties, but this story is contemporary. The end of the movie is signaled clearly at the beginning, and the movie grinds inexorably towards it's preordained conclusion. There are some draw-droppingly awful performances- Kelly Johnson's particularly ill conceived. The computer expert, Raybon Kan, is Asian of course. Cliff Curtis is a fine actor, sadly wasted here. His character is the most frustrating, at the end he is very paranoid, and suspects his car may be sabotaged, and with good cause, yet he gets in and drives it away. Eh? This movie feels very claustrophobic, lots of interior shots (if there is something Murphy totally gets, it's location shooting). The bad guys are watching our hero, he knows they're watching him, yet he doesn't leave the single room where too much of the movie is set. Don't you reckon a Kiwi in that position would pack up the car and go bush (or clear out to Whangarai, Tokoroa, Coromandel) until things settled down? New Zealand is a very easy place to get lost in. That is the other frustrating thing about the film. Many of us know the what of the case, at no stage does Geoff get into why. Why the hell would anyone launder money through New Zealand? Now, there's a story. Most frustrating were the promised references to Pork Pie. These were ham-fisted and downright strange. I mean, how and why would someone be wearing a WW2 flying helmet in any bar, let alone an upmarket one? Maybe it's me. Maybe I wanted to like Spooked too much, and expected something at the standard that Murphy set- with perhaps a bit of flash and polish learned from his Hollywood years. Alas, it was not to be.

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