Utu

Film

Time Out says

This does for the 19th century Land Wars in New Zealand what Ulzana's Raid did for the contemporary Apache campaign in the USA, making it clear that the white man's destiny to conquer new and fertile corners of the earth was totally irreconcilable with the interests and culture of the previous inhabitants. The story of a series of revenge raids by Maori rebel Te Wheke is violent in every sense: in the action of many scenes; in the abrupt changes of tone, from the horror of the opening massacre, through spaghetti Western-style confrontations, to the almost mystical ending; and in the violence it does to the idea of liberal democratic understanding as a universal panacea. There are rough passages and uncertain performances, but both Lawrence as a sort of serio-comic Eastwood figure, and Wallace as the brooding, mercurial Te Wheke, are excellent. A film both fascinating and disconcerting, all but bringing off the gamble of combining a serious look at history with a thrills'n'spills action movie.

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