Orphans and Kingdoms

Orphans and Kingdoms


One night. One house. One island.

New Zealand drama set on Waiheke Island, following three teens who break into a holiday home for a night of partying when the owner (Colin Moy, In My Father’s Den) unexpectedly arrives. The trio confront and apprehend him, but as the night turns into dawn, the lonely man and the troubled teens find a connection in the most unexpected of ways. The directorial debut of NZ actor Paolo Rotondo (Stickmen) and the final project of the NZ Film Commission's Escalator scheme, which produced the nationally-praised Fantail.

Flicks Review

Low budget and local all too often translate to what’s basically a TV movie bunged up on the big screen. In his feature debut, writer/director Paolo Rotondo deftly avoids all the usual clichés and pitfalls, cleverly keeping the action largely confined to a home under siege, and delivering that rarest of micro-budget gems – a real honest-to-the-moniker movie.... More

Hanelle Harris, Jesse-James Rehu Pickery, and Calae Hignett-Morgan are never less than convincing as the tearaway teens, escaping the Auckland mainland to hang out, shoplift and purse-snatch on Waiheke Island, before breaking in to an upmarket house to raid the drinks cabinet and graffiti the walls. The young acting trio bring a real sense of loving, if broken, family, and a palpable air of menace to the owner of the upmarket beachfront home they invade.

The politics of privilege and race, have and have-nots, may be contentious, but this is a New Zealand film with a wider underlying message about whānau that’s heartfelt and, ultimately, hits home. As the troubled delinquents tell their equally troubled captive: “You’re our family. We’re wards of the state - we’re everyone’s kids.”

As the home owner turned hostage, Colin Moy quietly radiates the sense of a man broken by his spiritual burden. Tough, tense, realistic and rough, deliberately paced, and never shirking moments of silence, violence and, ultimately, reconciliation, Orphans and Kingdoms is a tightly scripted, sincerely acted, ably-directed/shot/soundtracked and edited example of a little film with a big heart, crafted with a care and commendable commitment that belies its humble budget and technical constraints.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 4 reviews
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BY Deb superstar

If you go to the Wilderpeople one week and then go to this movie you'll think about how you laughed through Ricky's cameo of doing bad stuff. Here we see young people doing similar bad stuff and it seems, well, really bad. Here a darker Ricky and his siblings are portrayed in grittier and, sometimes, more realistic environment.
Only sometimes though because some stuff in this movie jars. In particular the young protagonist delivers two major blows to the skull of an unfortunate homeowner who... More surprises them using his place. Arguably the first could have killed him or at least resulted in a sever concussion. There's a major credibility issue when he gets up and gets on with the plot.

I question the need for the level of violence required in the story. By the time the kids have gotten into the house and semi-trashed it we've lost a lot of sympathy for them. We don't need one of them nearly killing someone to do that. Often times too, the threat of violence works just as well as carrying it out.
This film uses a few tropes which make it seem like a first time writers attempt at a story. In particular the use of a guilt ridden father whose child has suicide. Its a lot to put on the audience (again) and makes him less of an everyman. His actions become too explainable. Me, I would perhaps have had him I a large house with everything alone because people have drifted off - wife with another man, kids overseas and barely in touch. Nobody needs him. I think we might have had more of a thriller plot as the audience tried to guess whether he'd turn the tables on his home invaders. Instead we just waited for the inevitable.
Its well cast, very well acted and set in a great place. It just could have been a little more sophisticated. Still, this was a harder film to make than Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Its harder to like because the people are not cameos, there are no laughs. I thought they got the ending just right.Hide

BY Odnarb nobody

saw it yesterday at Gala opening..,. beautiful movie loved every moment of it... gripping tale filmed in Waiheke

BY Helga88 nobody

Very good watching..loved every moment of it.. gripping and very well written

Amazing performances from all of the cast! Any kiwi film is a must see, this really sets a high standard for future content to come out of New Zealand.

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The Press Reviews

  • A truly stunning piece of New Zealand filmmaking that really captures the raw reality of stories often ignored. Full Review

  • A terribly impressive first feature film by a local director, which speaks volumes about the power of collaboration between talented, hard-working industry people and the inspiration of a damn good story. Full Review

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