New Zealand drama starring Temuera Morrison and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker as Turei, a young musician attempting to win an audition to be the support act for Bob Marley’s 1979 concert in Auckland. Set amongst a family of contract potato pickers in Pukekohe, Mt Zion is described as a "family-oriented story in which Turei’s desperate ambition clashes with traditional whanau values, leading to an emotional showdown and powerful change." This is the feature debut of writer/director Tearepa Kahi.
BY Liam Maguren Flicks Writer
With an ear for music and an eye for the landscape, Mt Zion starts New Zealand’s filmmaking year on a good note. It’s not going to boil up the country in the way Boy did, but this is a homegrown muso drama to be proud of.... More
Stan Walker does well portraying the daftly naïve Turei, a potato picker with a stupendous voice who dreams of being the opening act for Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Auckland concert. Though Walker’s range is limited (re: his acting, not his singing), his game is lifted significantly when onscreen with his superb bro-counsel co-stars – musician Troy Kingi, Shortland Streeter David Wikaira-Paul and ghost chips internaliser Darcy Ray Flavell-Hudson – whose group chemistry throbs with a naturally humorous vibrancy that pulsates throughout the film. Temuera Morrison is perfectly nuanced as Turei’s father, a ‘man of the land’ who uses his whanau-heavy morals to level his son’s increasingly self-indulgent aspirations.
The film delights in recreating 1979 Pukekohe, from the intimate low-income neighbourhoods to the terrible facial hair styling on the record producers' faces. Managing to romanticise the era without shamelessly over-glorifying it, writer-director Tearepa Kahi uses the beauty of the land as a contrast to a cultural lifestyle hit by the effects of urbanisation.
I wish the big confrontation near the end carried more weight, for it resolves in a way that feels far too subdued. Nevertheless, I commend Mt Zion for how it filters its by-the-numbers themes through the values of traditional Maori communities, producing something fresh and wholesome. And be prepared to hum those tunes days after you’ve left the cinema.Hide
The Peoples' Reviews
Your rating & reviewRate / Review this movie
Rate and/or review
BY Medz nobody
BY Jamal nobody
BY Karen-Mole grader
It does follow a tried and tested formula and could have been just a vehicle for Stan Walker but is much more as it has a great cast, well scripted, acted and directed. I agree with others its likely to not get too much attention outside NZ but that will be their loss I think.