A crime comedy set in 1930s small town New Zealand about a naive teen who conspires with two misfits to photograph and blackmail wealthy, adulterous couples. Stars Flight of the Conchord's Jemaine Clement as the creepy Spook, The Lovely Bones' Rose McIver as the lusted-after Maybelle, portly Australian comedian Heath Franklin, Wellington theatre actor Hayden Frost and musician Tim Finn.... More

Shot in the ‘Naki, this is the only remaining unfilmed novel by late Hawera author Ronald Hugh Morrieson (Came a Hot Friday). Director Jason Stutter has had a long collaboration with Clement, from his debut feature Tongan Ninja through to 2009's Diagnosis: Death.Hide

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Flicks Review

Predicament trudges along with a lingering sense of apathy, as if the filmmakers ran out of energy halfway through production. It’s all about some misfits in a bother marginally more exciting than being overcharged for a Tui at the Hawera RSA.... More

Thankfully, every effort is made to spruce up the presentation – there is something creepily gothic and wonderful about the creaky old buildings, the film is attractively lit and the flamboyant camera moves look like each took an afternoon to rehearse.

Perhaps needing a few more afternoons to rehearse is Aussie import Heath Franklin, who brings no charm, charisma or discernible personality to his line readings. Hayden Frost – the timid Laurel to Franklin’s Hardy – receives the unenviable task of over-enunciating words and blinking a lot. Thank goodness for Jemaine Clement, a glorious relief, like God chucking a gigantic bath sponge into the Gulf of Mexico.

The film’s conclusion is announced not with a cathartic release of tension or dramatic pay-off but by end credits scrolling up the screen. If you’re still awake, you might like to pay your respects to the hard-working crew. They’ve at least made this dull caper look good.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 67 ratings, 67 reviews
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With such a fantastic opening you really want to like this film. It's probably one of the best openings of any NZ film. But then you slowly begin to realise that the key actors aren't up to it, their performances lack craft, and the dialogue isn't helping. Meanwhile the camera is forever soaring up, over, and around everything. And the close-ups use brutal wide-lenses very close, in almost every second scene. These techniques on their own are fine, and often very well executed. But their... More overuse diminishes their impact, and your left wishing it would stop, so that you can focus on the characters and the story. Which leads to the next wee issue...the story. It's just a bit boring. I laughed, but i didn't laugh enough. I was scared, but i wasn't scared enough. And critically, I didn't really engage with the leads, I couldn't, I was kept at arms length by the stylised execution and the undercooked performances. Which is a genuine pity, because it's a film you really want to be great. The period is wonderfully recreated. The costuming is superb. The look and feel of the film is very good. It just doesn't charge on, sweep you up, and really involve you. The director probably just needs some more time at the drama coal-face, working with actors to craft performance. And a little more script scrutiny, working hard at building characters we can root for or be appalled by. Everything else is sweet - it's these key areas of performance and storytelling that need work. And that work can be done. It's just, sadly, a little late for this film. It's a 2.5 out 5 - the extra half star is for the promise and potential this filmmaker exhibits.Hide

Another major disaster for the current film commission funding system... but what interests me here is, why aren't you guys fronting up with a review? Kiwi toes too sensitive for your heavy tread, you reckon? It's a pretty glaring omission, given some of the minor fare you're deemed review-worthy lately. Local films deserve the same scrutiny as everyone else's, surely!

Saw this last night, an it was awful. Clement has his moments, but overall I just found it weird. No doubt this will be a major flop, and more than likely end Stutter's career, which is a shame because i do think he's talented, or maybe I was just dazzled with the terrific camera work and art direction - which was truly world class. Shame about the script - that needed to better, to really engage and appeal to a bigger audience.

I went with my sister last night. It was awsome. We loved Jemaine, he's real funny. Not what you expect for a kiwi film. Awsome!

Overall not bad. Shot well with nice art direction and costume. The biggest let down was casting, in particular Heath Franklin who while I'm sure is a capable actor didn't seem to fill the shoes of the lines he delivers in the film. I wanted someone bigger in personality and considering his character is on screen 80% of the film a wiser choice should have been made.
At the end of the day though a refreshing New Zealand film in terms of subject and taking opportunity of our literary past.

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The Press Reviews

  • This is turning out to be quite a good year for New Zealand films. After the phenomenal local success of Boy, here we have another Kiwi movie well worth watching and next month will see the release of The Insatiable Moon. Full Review

  • Predicament is set in a small South Taranaki town in the 1930s. The place might not be exactly author Ronald Hugh Morrieson's native Hawera, but it was probably close enough to enrage more than a few locals. Full Review

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