Blood is thicker than water.

Berlin Film Festival-winning coming-of-age drama set in 1981 New Zealand. The small-town life of half-Samoan Willie is dominated by an enthusiasm for muscle cars, domestic abuse and a boring retail job until a more glamorous lifestyle presents itself. Shot in Wellington and the Kapiti Coast, this is the feature debut from writer-directors Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland whose previous short film Six Dollar Fifty Man won Best Short at Sundance 2010.... More

After a chance encounter with charismatic thief Bennie and his close-knit gang of 'shoppers', Willie is seduced into a criminal world that allows him to escape mounting tensions with his volatile father. But as Bennie's hold over him grows, Willie finds himself in over his head.Hide

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Flicks Review

Shopping comes highly anticipated after Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland showed they’ve got the goods with the shorts Six Dollar Fifty Man and Run. There’s no doubt these two local filmmakers have a knack for heart-tugging authentic moments rooted in the struggles of childhood. Their challenge is translating that fleeting, emotional poetry to a story that can sustain itself in the full feature format. The themes of their earlier work reappear in Shopping in the suffering of teenage protagonist Willie and his younger brother Solomon (an adorable Julian Dennison) coping with the unpredictability of their belt-wielding palangi father and the expectations of their traditional Samoan mother.... More

Set with impeccable art direction in 1981, the film starts off feeling like an extended short film. It’s grim with a slice-of-life quality and while Ginny Loane’s cinematography captures a raw beauty in the Kapiti township, the historic setting and understated approach make the action feel distant. It takes the arrival of a beguiling visitor to inject the film with both expanse and immediacy. Bennie (Polish/Australian actor Jacek Koman) is the mischievous gypsy king of a wandering criminal gang and it’s easy to see why listless Willie falls under his spell. Matthias Luafutu (seen recently on TV3 drama Harry) makes a welcome big screen appearance as one of Bennie’s gang, an actor rapidly becoming the most delightfully watchable villain since Cliff Curtis’s Uncle Bully.

It’s a slow burn that will test some audiences’ patience but ultimately Shopping unwraps to explore the big ideas – identity, growing up and familial ties – with beauty, quiet humour, and a big Kiwi dollop of bleakness.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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BY Ken-Burns superstar

That's what this is about. A great piece of New Zealand culture that was visually stunning with a super surprising story.

For a film that is beautifully shot and acted, it was damn depressing. Why does NZ insist on making movies which focus on the dark side of NZ life? Why focus on child abuse, drug use? The story would have worked without the child abuse. The whole cinema left depressed, quiet, and dragged down. But, it was a beautifully filmed movie. Great music, exquisite sets, superb acting.

BY Dee-lish nobody

I loved it...I want to see it again, The acting was brilliant, hard to believe that some have not acted before, very professional. Go see it!!!

BY Coraliee superstar

Went this morning - loved it! Another homegrown Kiwi film with an awesome cast. Amazing job by Kevin Paulo who played "Willie" - cannot believe he was picked for the cast while he was eating lunch at Coastlands mall and had not acted before - I see a bright future ahead! Little Julian Dennison is gorgeous. Quite a long movie - but enjoyed every minute!

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The Press Reviews

  • Infused with obvious personal investment but too undisciplined to have much dramatic impact. Full Review

  • A rarely explored sociopolitical context that bristles with racial tension lends raw vitality to coming-of-ager “Shopping,” a rough-hewn but confident first feature from New Zealand duo Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland. Full Review

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