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November 20, 2018, 07:10:20 PM
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Latest Member: DocAcula Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  Once Were Warriors « previous next »
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Author Topic: Once Were Warriors  (Read 2001 times)
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« on: October 04, 2007, 07:47:34 PM »

This movie's an absolute gem, completely unflinching in it's portrayal of spousal abuse, alcoholism, and the loss of heritage by aboriginal peoples (in this case, Maori) in westernized culture.

I originally got this movie because I'd heard it was good, and it starred Jango Fett himself, Temuera Morrison. As it turns out, this movie is filled with exceptional performances by the entire cast, but particularly by Rena Owen, portraying Beth Heke, wife to Jake "the Muss" Heke, living in the Slums of Auckland.

Two things really stand out: Jake is really charming and charismatic, even sympathetic at times. But like a switch, he can go from easygoing partier and passionate husband, to abusive and violent. There is a scene early on where he and his wife start fighting, and she slaps him. In response, he beats her unrelentingly, scaring dozens of fairly rough barflies and thugs out of his house during his rampage.

 In most American movies (particularly the hilariously bad Lifetime channel variety) spousal abuse is done with an obviously fake black eye and maybe a split lip. Beth, however, wakes up on a blood soaked pillow looking like a bad night at the emergency room - in other words, realistic. Broken teeth, disfiguring bruises, everything. Even more surprising, instead of offering unheeded advice and condescending sympathy, her best friend basically tells her she was asking for what she got.

This isn't an easy movie to watch, but it's a very deep and moving drama that doesn't try to tie everything up in a neat little package, that doesn't give the viewer a happy ending, but still ends on a bittersweet triumphant note just the same.
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