Taika Waititi's second feature film (after Eagle vs. Shark and episodes of TV's Flight of the Conchords), is a coming-of-age comedy set in the '80s, East Coast, New Zealand.
Boy (James Rolleston) is obsessed with Michael Jackson - in particular, his dance moves - and his little brother Rocky (Te Aho Eketone-Whitu) possibly possesses 'powers'. The pair are trying to find their potential (and the meaning of the word "potential") while living in the shadow of their larger-than-life dad, Alamein (Waititi).
In Boy's eyes, his dad is a hero: a deep-sea diver, war veteran, rugby captain and close relation of Michael Jackson. But in reality Alamein is doing seven years in jail and is a member of the three-man Crazy Horses gang. Now out of the can, Dad returns home and Boy is confronted with the man he thought he remembered.
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BY Andrew Hedley Flicks Writer
A movie that is distinctly kiwi, in all the good ways, Boy takes place in a beaten-down coastal village, a dead-end place where in the ‘80s one could only dream about the magnificence of Michael Jackson or the glamour of TV’s Dynasty.... More
It’s is a film with modest ambitions but a love for its subjects. Writer-director Taika Waititi takes from experience, using his ear for the musicality of the Maori accent to create a strong sense of place. Boy moves from comedic into more serious territory but, for once, we are not seeing onscreen Maori as hampered by domestic violence or mired in spiritual guff.
Excellent and honest debut performances from James Rolleston and Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu as his younger brother, Rocky, are hugely impressive. Next to them, Waititi himself comes off a little caricatured as their father, Alamein, who in his son’s eyes is imagined to be anything from a heroic soldier to a samurai warrior. The drama begins as Boy begins to see the real Alamein, a man not yet come to terms with his own adulthood and the responsibilities that ought to come with it.
Patchy pacing becomes an issue in the second half and some cartoonish moments create a distancing effect but this story about the gap between youthful potential and the puzzling mystery of adulthood is a feel-good, warm-hearted salute to the virtues of rural New Zealand. And it’s our best film in years.Hide
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