Reviewed by Kate Rodger
Writer, director and actor Taika Waititi is calling this film his first. He had a practise run with Eagle versus Shark (which was a bit hit and miss for me), and it feels like he really puts his heart and soul into Boy. It makes all the difference.
His Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night formed the inspiration for this bigger picture, a picture Waititi fleshes out and colours in with kooky characters, laugh-out-loud scenarios and reassuringly endearing relationships.
It’s 1984. Tight t-shirts, short shorts, lemonade popsicles.
Boy is eleven years old. He likes Michael Jackson and a girl called Chardonnay. He lives with his Gran and his younger brother Rocky. Rocky has superpowers. They’re imaginary superpowers.
Both boys are in need of a hero.
Whether their father fits the bill, well that’s what we’re about to find out. Because as the Boy movie flyer says: ‘What if the hero you’ve been waiting for is a dick?”
Waititi is Alamein, he’s the dick. His son Boy hasn’t quite figured that out yet. His hero-worship paints his father as a scuba-diving, spoon-wielding, dance-floor dominating super cool dude. In fact, Alamein returns to his whanau after a stint in jail, and on the hunt for his stash of cash he buried in a paddock.
The two boys are played by total newbies, James Rolleston and Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, and they’re impossible to fault to be fair. A perfect mix of gentle vulnerability and captivating innocence, along with inspired natural comic timing, Waititi brings out the best in them both.
The cinematic marriage of humour and heart can be a fraught one, more often than not ending in a messy divorce. The subtle poignant moments in Boy are delivered in an almost offhand way, and not because Waititi doesn’t care, but because he does.
It feels like a while since I smiled this wide and felt this good watching any film, kiwi or otherwise. It was a great feeling.
Go see Boy. It’s choice.
:: Director: Taika Waititi
:: Starring: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston and Te Aho Eketone-Whitu
:: Running Time: 88 mins
:: Rating: M - contains drug use and offensive language
:: Release Date: March 25, 2010
:: Trailer: Click here