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Nabreus Deadlands

Nabreus Deadlands

With a desire for belonging and purpose so deeply built into the human psyche, it's no wonder that disenfranchised people even in the world's most developed communities are adrift. But the Maori setting and culture add plenty of intrigue, and the plot has the heft of an enduring legend. So even though it's all faintly ridiculous, it's easy to just sit back and go with it. And fans of the haka will love it. A long-standing treaty between two tribes is broken when the war-mongering Wirepa Tuhaka makes up a reason to slaughter a neighbouring tribe led by Chief Tane Henare.

The sole male survivor is Tane's year-old son Hongi Rolleston , who sets off on a hopeless mission to honour his father and ancestors. Daringly, he enlists the help of a feared warrior Makoare whom everyone thinks is a flesh-eating monster. And together, these two take on Wirepa and his gang in a land where the dead are involved in the fates of the living.

The sense of history is strong, with a terrific use of local language and customs, as well as a gorgeous wilderness setting that ranges from mountain forests and scrubby flatlands to the stormy ocean. If only the filmmaking was as careful with the story's place and time.

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These muscly men wear clothing that is clearly made by a movie costume designer: their carefully crafted raggedy loincloths are about as authentic as Raquel Welch's fur bikini in One Million Years BC. And the film only has one tone: super-serious. All the macho glowering and chest-pounding is played dead straight by the up-for-it cast, who at least manage to find some emotional subtext in their characters' internal dilemmas. The leads are solid as the three warrior types: tough youngster, grizzled elder and brooding thug.

All three actors find moments of insight, although the rare glimpses of earthy humour feel like they snuck past director Fraser, who clearly wanted to keep everything blunt and po-faced. As the story progresses, intriguing themes about the importance of living up to the expectations of predecessors are abandoned in lieu of intensely brutal action. The battles look intriguingly choreographed, using Maori weapons and fighting styles, but they're so harshly over-edited that it's impossible to see much of what's happening.

And in the end, the plot progresses to the requisite showdowns right on schedule.

Spookydelica Echoes of the Resistance | Boo Dudes

Rather that find something thoughtful, Fraser ends with a final shot that feels like it wouldn't be out of place in a Transformers movie. Yet despite its superficially shocking premise the film is actually about the core elements in any relationship, and this is beautifully revealed through vivid filmmaking and raw performances. Young maid Evelyn D'Anna cycles through the woods to the home of her moth-expert mistress Cynthia Knudsen , who puts her through her paces with unusual coldness, ultimately punishing her when Evelyn fails to wash a pair of underpants.

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But through this entire scenario there are glimpses of something else going on and, sure enough, this roleplay is how these women express their relationship. Only it's Evelyn who's actually calling the shots. And through both public interaction with other scientists and private encounters it becomes clear that Cynthia has unmet needs of her own. Shot in the style of a s Euro-lesbian romp complete with a retro title sequence that credits the perfume , there may not be a single man on-screen, but the story is recognisable to anyone who has faced expectations in a relationship.

Everyone knows what it's like to try to please someone, bending personal desires to another person's wishes while trying to retain some of yourself in the process. This central idea seeps through every pore of the film, right to the intensely dreamlike final sequence. And Strickland never lets up on the feminist stylings. D'Anna and Knudsen give startlingly layered performances, constantly letting the masks slip just a little bit.

The Dead Lands

Both of them find astonishing emotional strength along the way, letting waves of happiness and pain wash over their faces while they try to pretend that nothing is happening. But this isn't a story about repression, it's about communication and the struggle couples have to make their singular desires meet somewhere in the middle. Technically the film is a marvel that really needs to be seen on the big screen. Shot in Hungary, Nic Knowland's gorgeous soft-focus cinematography captures vivid textures from the forest leaves to Cynthia's stockings.

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And Strickland's sharp ear makes sure the sound mix is packed with telling hints and witty asides. In fact, the entire film is packed with blackly hilarious moments, mainly as characters let the real world infringe on the artifice. By closing this banner or by continuing to use Eventbrite, you agree. For more information please review our cookie policy.

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Nabreus Deadlands

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