Swagger of Thieves

Swagger of Thieves


Julian Boshier's all-access portrait of New Zealand rock institution Head Like a Hole, following Nigel 'Booga' Beazley and Nigel Regan at home, on the road and in full roar.... More

"Swagger of Thieves director Julian Boshier has worked for half a decade on this film. Sometime during that marathon of bloody-minded perseverance, he has earned the trust and respect of Nigel ‘Booga’ Beazley and Nigel Regan, the ever-collapsing binary stars who are the guts of any HLAH line up. Boshier finds the two men staring down the age with belligerence, vulnerability, shamelessness and honesty. There is no legacy polishing here, and no one’s feelings are spared." (New Zealand International Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

Julian Boshier’s intimate doco on Head Like a Hole sensibly avoids turning in a chronological recounting of the band’s inglorious past, if glorious cacophony. Swagger of Thieves captures what it means to be a band with a rep in NZ, juggling notoriety and nostalgia in the present day alongside a feeling of “we fucked things up a bit, but how come we didn’t get what we deserve?”. Unrelentingly honest, the film contains some of Aotearoa’s most insightful moments of career reflection - for instance, seemingly embittered APRA royalty analysis (while washing windows, no less) rings incredibly true to life on screen.... More

Some band members are shown to have been battered by rock n roll excess, relationships between both current and former lineups are portrayed as prone to dysfunction, and any illusions of music biz glamour supremely shattered. None of which casts Head Like a Hole as has-beens, and with frontman Booga Beazley proving a relentlessly charismatic quote machine - particularly when the chips are down - the viewer wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

Alongside fellow founding member Nigel Regan, the duo proves an entertaining double act. After all these years together, their relationship isn’t a million miles away from a marriage, something that stirs emotion when we see Regan interacting with Booga’s actual family. One comes away with a sense of how they’ve run the band - for better, for worse, and into the ground - through two very different, but strongly intertwined, personalities that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of in the practice room, tour van, or worse yet, behind your back.

It’s not a perfect film, with some uneven pacing and content that feels missing, from a deeper trawl through the archives to more insight from music industry figures and scene contemporaries. But Boshier’s laborious filming of Head Like a Hole, and the rapport established with this subjects make for an interesting watch for fans of the band, and anyone interested in the life of a local act.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 5 reviews
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Last year I was dragged along to this film by my husband. I didn’t know much
about Head Like a Hole or their music so didn’t know what to expect – actually I
thought I would hate it. But was I wrong …. This film really engages right from
the beginning; it’s very funny and you really feel for these guys and Tamzin
(Booga’s partner). Actually there is not too much music in this, but there is a lot
of story and the story is what makes this engaging. I would definitely
recommend this... More film to everyone (you don’t have to know or like this band) it
doesn’t matter. It’s almost as if this film is bigger, layered and more complex than
the band or it’s music. 5 stars.Hide

I love kiwi music, but movies about kiwi bands yeah nah. But when I saw this last year at the festival I couldn’t believe how cool this film was. I guess I was scared because the Shihad film was kinda naff, but Swagger of Thieves is not naff. It’s funny, interesting, fast paced and has a huge amount of character plus it’s been filmed over quite a long time which gives it some real depth. I can’t wait to see this film again. Don’t delay just go buy tickets to this film, because it’s... More a sort of a one-off and just kinda awesome.Hide

For a New Zealand film, Swagger of Thieves is quite remarkable. It really is a world-class documentary, with an incredibly engaging story and very engaging characters. A great mix of drama, pathology, music and landscape. It's endearing and very funny but also quite emotional and tragic. I saw this during the 2017 festival and I'll go see it again. I'm not a massive fan of HLAH, but I'm a big fan of this very unique film. Go see it, you won't be disappointed.

BY K2 nobody

Whether you're into the music of Head Like a Hole or not, it doesn't matter.....This film is a must see.
Beautifully shot, it takes you on a behind the scenes journey through the highs and lows of being in an iconic yet sometimes struggling New Zealand rock band. Its happy, sad, often hilarious, and brilliant! You come out feeling like you know the band personally! Totally entertaining and one of the best docos I have ever seen.

BY pakaruni nobody

I loved this doco of one of my fave old school NZ bands. It was Gritty, intense and goddam hilarious. It took me back to my youth and those naughty debaucherous gigs. If your a fan of HLAH go see it and if your not, go anyway because is brilliant.

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