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Aro Favourite River Queen

 

New Zealand / UK 2005, 109 minutes
Dir. Vincent Ward
Rating: [M]
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama

Topics: Period - 1800s.

 

Aroview: Both underrated and overblown, dir. Vincent Ward's (VIGIL) ambitious historical drama depicts the journey across heart, soul and land-scapes of an Irish woman (Morton) caught up in the New Zealand Wars of the mid-19th century between the Maori tribes and European settlers, backed by the British Imperial Army.

Chiefly centres on Morton's search for her son - the product of an interracial liason - who was taken from her by his father's Maori relatives at an early age, but also encompassing her relationship with a troubled Irish bush-soldier (Sutherland), himself struggling to reconcile various feelings about the conflict. Filmed under difficult conditions on the Wanganui river, this presents an undoubtedly impressive visual rendering of a primordial frontier world, realised in excellent action scenes and imaginative renderings of Maori spirituality.

Although the storyline eventually falters under the task of orchestrating its complex, weighty themes (emphasised by an often overbearing soundtrack), this important film is a must for fans of New Zealand cinema and is a worthy effort to artistically come to terms with our often troubling historical legacy.

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Reference Links: River QueenNZ On Screen film review.

DVD Features

  • English subtitles for the hearing impaired
  • trailers
  • aspect ratio: 1.85:1
 

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