Film Review: Boy

New Zealand writer, actor, director and snappy dresser Taika Waititi has made a big impression since his feature debut a decade ago. His first film, the impressive Eagle Vs Shark, announced him as someone to keep an eye on. He’s gone on to make the brilliant What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This month, he’s about to enter the bigtime with Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok. Back in 2010 he made Boy. Which, due to the foibles of international distribution, is finally getting a limited release in the UK this weekend.

Boy (James Rolleston) lives with his brother Rocky (Te Aho Eketone-Whitu), a gaggle of younger cousins and his nan (Mavis Paenga). Boy is obsessed with Michael Jackson and Chardonnay, a girl at school (RickyLee Waipuka-Russell), who he tries to impress from a distance. When his nan has to go away to a funeral, he becomes the ‘man’ of the house. That is until his dad Alamein (Waititi) suddenly reappears along with the other two members of the Crazy Horse gang. Boy worships his dad like a popstar but Alamein is only really interested in finding the money he buried.

Boy is a highly entertaining comedy drama which is a coming-of-age film, Kiwi style. Rolleston is brilliant, as are all the child stars. This is ultimately their film. Waititi keeps the tone light and the jokes fast and furious. However, it never overwhelms the story. It merely embellishes it. Whilst Alamein is no one’s idea of good parenting, he’s not played up as a monster. Simply a man of many flaws, some of which he’s acutely aware of. Boy is a wonderful comedy drama which will delight, amuse and entertain.

Boy is out in cinemas on 13th October and available on digital download from 27th October.

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