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River Queen

  • Action
  • Drama
  • 2005
  • Vincent Ward
  • 109 mins
  • 15

Summary

An intimate story set during the 1860s in which a young Irish woman Sarah and her family find themselves on both sides of the turbulent wars between British and Maori during the British colonization of New Zealand.

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Review

A star rating of 2 out of 5.

Kiwi director Vincent Ward's first film since What Dreams May Come was a troubled production - he was fired at one point, only to be re-hired for the edit - and, sadly, that discord is plain to see on screen. Set during the New Zealand land wars of the 1860s, this stars Samantha Morton as an Irish settler whose young son is taken from her by his Maori relatives to be raised in their culture. When she finds the boy again after seven long years, he has no intention of leaving what he regards as his rightful home. The local stars, such as Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison, fare the best, although Morton is as intense as ever and there are reliable supporting turns from Anton Lesser and Stephen Rea (who was seemingly unable to help co-star Kiefer Sutherland come up with a more credible Irish accent). But while competently acted and visually stunning, the film is incoherently plotted and there's a rushed feel to it all. It's a shame, because this could have been Ward's masterpiece, a period epic to fuse the colonial darkness of Joseph Conrad with the raw spirituality of Maori tribal culture.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
SarahSamantha Morton
DoyleKiefer Sutherland
WiremuCliff Curtis
Te Kai PoTemuera Morrison
BaineAnton Lesser
BoyDavid Rawiri Pene
FrancisStephen Rea

Crew

rolename
DirectorVincent Ward

Details

Theatrical distributor
The Works
Released on
2008-02-15
Languages
English | Maori
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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