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Once Were Warriors isn't an easy watch, but the raw power of its story -- and the performances of an excellent cast -- reward viewers who rise to the challenge.
All Critics (44)
| Top Critics (16)
| Fresh (41)
| Rotten (3)
| DVD (9)
Once Were Warriors has more to say than the traditional TV-movie about spousal abuse. But some viewers will have to pay a price: This is a movie that requires strength and fortitude to sit through.
Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, who plays Grace, had never acted before, and neither have a couple of the other key players. But under the careful direction of television veteran Lee Tamahori, they all do credible and forceful work.
A gritty, powerful first feature by Lee Tamahori.
The howling raging energy of the prize-winning New Zealand film Once Were Warriors rushes at you, hits you like a smack in the face.
The violence in Once Were Warriors (Fine Line, R), a tumultuous domestic drama from New Zealand, erupts with terrifying suddenness.
The barren lives of members of an urban Maori family are rigorously exposed in this rugged and painful picture, based on Alan Duff's novel.
Once Were Warriors is a savage and dismaying tale of a venerable culture in decay and a film difficult to recommend.
It's a fine, fierce and nearly unforgettable movie.
There's little new here, but uniformly powerful performances (especially Owen's) give the tale unexpected power and depth.
Tamahori's direction is consistently sharp and the film showcases two immensely powerful performances by Morrison and Owen.
The film isn't, ultimately, quite able to reach the heights attained by its star...
One of the most powerful, ultra-realistic dramas about domestic violence--As the battered wife, Rena Welson should have received a Best Actress nomination.
A melodrama of sorts, but one so vigorous and full of rage and despair, that it will inevitably linger in you.
A powerful story of love, loss, violence and cultural awakenings. Not for the faint hearted, this film contains some of the most extreme scenes of domestic abuse I've witnessed. Compelling stuff!!!
I went for this one presuming it's a war movie. Little did I know that it was instead a social story of a family headed by a violent person. Anyway, as the credits started rolling in somewhat unusual way, I thought that this is gonna be some offbeat movie beyond my grasping abilities (somewhat is still left, honestly). Fortunately, it wasn't so. It was a simple story of a beautiful woman marrying a lower class, violent man and the disastrous consequences of her decision. It was a simple story of a woman's struggle to survive against all odds and who learns a lifetime lesson only after a dreadful tragedy. There was too much violence in the movie, but I can't say it was unnecessary. Hell, it was difficult to even merely look at the face of the lead actress after her husband beats her badly. I'm glad that I was able to sit through those painful scenes and it was well worth my time.
All in all, it's a brutally realistic tale told in an incredible way, thanks to the best efforts put in by those involved in the making of the film. Rena Owen was second to none in the role of tolerant wife, and Temuera Morrison was so natural as a violent asshole that you start hating his guts in no time.
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