Once Were Warriors

Year: 1994
Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Temuera Morrison, Cliff Curtis

The Australian video cover calls it a 'sledgehammer of a film'. It's been called 'shattering' by one of the world's best known reviewers. Neither sum it up amply. Think of every adjective or verb you can for devastation, destruction, misery, violence, heartbreak and everything else bad and repellent to the human soul.

A poor Maori family is further torn to pieces by the alcoholic and abusive father, and it doesn't stop at that until it's thrust teenage homelessness, wife-bashing, rape and suicide in your face. Everyone should see it, but nobody will enjoy it. Depressing, violent and maudlin, but important. Sharp performances all around apart from Morrison, who overacts a touch, but who's gone on to some heavy duty things in Hollywood, from Barb Wire to Vertical Limit and Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

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