In a small town in New Zealand, brothers Willie and Solomon deal with the ordinary desires of youth, a volatile father and racial tensions before one, as a means of escape, is seduced to the criminal world by an engaging thief.

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Cast

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Kevin Paulo ...
Willie
Julian Dennison
...
Benny
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Lindsay
Matthias Luafutu ...
Red
Laura Petersen ...
Nicky
Gavin Rutherford ...
Craig
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Roger
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In a small town in New Zealand, brothers Willie and Solomon deal with the ordinary desires of youth, a volatile father and racial tensions before one, as a means of escape, is seduced to the criminal world by an engaging thief.

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30 May 2013 (New Zealand)  »

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failed attempt at social realist drama
10 April 2016 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Filmmaker's Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland made small waves in the NZ film community for their striking short film "The Six Dollar Fifty Man", a combination of art film cinematography mixed with a rush of childhood recollections, all of which are pretty moody and sinister. Various overseas film fest screenings filled out the director's CV nicely, which helped secure funding for this mess.

Not that its a bad film entirely; a few scenes feature the stylish cinematography of his short, but clearly the filmmakers don't understand the format or necessary appeal to make a low budget drama work at feature running time.

In a nutshell, the film focuses on a young, alienated kid dealing with his violent, repellent dad and a local ne'r-do-well that becomes a surrogate father figure of sorts in 1980's Paikakariki, a coastal village near Wellington, New Zealand.

Problems start here: Paekakariki is mostly a scenic, clean-cut area of the countryside, so talking about the 'mean streets and tough criminals' in the area is more a distortion of childhood pity than social reality, secondly the film is really about Sutherlands recollections of his dysfunctional family, but there just isn't enough directorial creativity or great acting on show to pull audiences into the experience. The whole affair is somewhat depressive and dingy, but its not great drama.

As an upside - it did give some screen time to Julian Dennison, who appeared in Taika Waititi's excellent film "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" in 2016.


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