Australasian Cinema > films >

Once Were Warriors

Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, 1994) Temuera Morrison (Jake the Muss), Rena Owen; NZ

Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, 1994) is a social problem film in realist style, which deals with or touches on a surprisingly large number of social issues: drug-usage, alcoholism, poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency, social class conflict, problematic sub-cultures, masculine insecurity and violence, violence in the family, youth crime, youth suicide, cultural deracination, rape, incest: it's a long list. ... All of the principal characters, the members of the Heke family, are caught in an intolerable situation.  For Jake, it's his ambivalent masculinity, as signalled by the film's title.  His people, as Beth tells him, 'once were warriors', and Jake is still at war; but as Beth also points out, the war is with himself. Garry Gillard, Screen Education, 39, 2005: 119-123.

Garry Gillard | New: 18 November, 2012 | Now: 15 December, 2019