Rose-tinted 1950s nostalgia from New Zealand director Lee Tamahori – his first for more than 15 years (Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Die Another Day) and light years away from his 1994 hard-hitting Maori drama, Once Were Warriors.
Adapted from the novel by Witi Ihimaera (Whale Rider), the Mahana family are ruled over by the powerful but successful sheep rearing patriarch (Temuera Robinson – Star Wars II & III, Once Were Warriors). It’s a time of change, represented by his 14 year-old grandson, Simeon, and Elvis Presley movies yet the focus is on the tensions within the extended family and its rivalry with the Poata family. The racism of 1950s New Zealand and wider political issues of the day are barely touched upon.
It’s a slight, mildly engaging family drama that starts off strongly but peters out into predictability.