Aroview: Structured around a grueling family Christmas in suburban New Zealand, this stark and uncompromising drama is one of the best low-budget features of the recent crop.
While the trappings and rituals of this gathering - roast dinners, burbling radios, family banter - are familiarly observed, the dysfunctional relationships, verbal abuse and abject behaviour on display mine a disturbing underbelly of Kiwi experience. Caught in lengthy unblinking camera shots, this is sure to alienate some viewers with its 'bad boy' agenda, but for those who dare, provides a powerful vision tinged with moments of bleak comedy.
4 stars (Very Good) Hell is a bach full of whanau. Technically crude but formally precise, with a strong non-pro cast, this portrait of festive misery is scarily resonant - and bold enough to play palpable despair as black deadpan comedy. An under-rated work of Kiwi cinema.~fairbrother