Once Were Warriors Movie Review
This unexpectedly powerful melodrama is the story of a Maori family in urban New Zealand, trying to make ends meet and coping with the overbearing presence of the family's father, a drunken brute who regularly beats those who cross him into bloodied pulp. Some of the most disturbing and explosive fight scenes on film result from this, as well as a tragically heart-breaking story line that inevitably follows. Because the family does nothing to stop the father, his madness goes unchecked. And when he shows a tinge of kindness, it is always soon replaced with retribution.
Once Were Warriors is obviously not light fare. It is a painful and very effective tale about the destructive power of abuse, rape, alcoholism, and violence in general that easily transcends its New Zealand origin. The title refers to the fact that the Maori were once a race of fierce fighters, born with the rage of their ancestors deep in their souls. The story tells us what has become of the centuries of rage, leaving the audience with a warning about what may be happening in your country, in your town, in your home.
The new special edition DVD adds a commentary track from director Lee Tamahori and a pair of featurettes, one about the traditional tattooing used in the film.
Still are warriors.