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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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah O'Brien
Te Kai Po
Boy (as David Rawiri Pene)
Wi Kuki Kaa ...
Old Rangi
Mark Ruka ...
Mikaila Hutchinson ...
Young Sarah
Tyson Reweti ...
Tommy Boy
Grayson Putu ...
Young Wiremu
Nathan Passfield ...
Boy (7 years)
Laura Coyte Douglas ...
Julie Ranginui ...
Old Puhi


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With darkness all around, only the heart can see. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

26 January 2006 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Dois Mundos em Guerra  »

Box Office


NZD 13,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In late-October 2004 Vincent Ward was removed from directing the film by the producers, and replaced by his cinematographer Alun Bollinger. Ward returned to the project when filming was completed. See more »


The movie is set in the 1860s, but the lyrics to "Danny Boy" as used in the film were written by Fred Weatherly in 1911. See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful but dumb
24 July 2008 | by (Cork) – See all my reviews

As the above suggests, I was ultimately unimpressed with this movie. It is lovely to look at, the scenery is lush, but the detail of the story, in particular the characters, are totally unbelievable. Films don't have to be believable, but films like this, with a political edge and social commentary do.

Similarly, I have no problem with commercialism as such, but once again, films like this shouldn't be making casting decisions purely based on box office draw. This is absolutely the case with Sutherland, who is frankly rubbish as Doyle. His accent was far from authentic, but he fell into the biggest trap of all, his accent IS his performance, and we end up with a caricature of Irishness with no personality outside of his nationality. I find it totally implausible that anyone involved thought he was the best man for the job. All in all, this is a clear case of commercial interest over quality and when you're trying to be The Mission, this kind of thing wrecks your chances of success.

Speaking of accents, there were a couple more problems, one being the striking modernity of Boy's accent which acted to dispel the feeling of being transported to another time. More surprising was Samantha Morton's much lauded Irish accent, which was variable to say the least. Her voice meandered between strong north and soft south, even in the voice-overs, where I would've expected any such discrepancies to be picked up.

However, these are minor gripes compared to the motivation and actions of Sarah. She never seems at home with the English, and almost instantly at home with her son and his tribe, the dilemma between the life she knew and the life she if offered just seems like a no-brainer. Perhaps a lot has been lost in editing, perhaps this was meant to be a three hour film or a mini series where these things could've been fleshed out, but I can only judge what I've seen.

Now the biggest problem, Sarah's (Morton) relationship with Doyle (Sutherland) is incomprehensible. The fact is that her affection for him is not conveyed in any way until her having to choose between him and her son, the conflict she goes through at this point was frankly ridiculous and killed the movie for me.

As you may have guessed. this movie didn't work at all for me, but it is top notch to look at, you really won't see anything more stunning in terms of scenery, there are some good performances and my wife liked it.

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