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Plot: 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. Runtime: 114 mins Release Date: 26 Jan 2006
An intense and unforgettable movie experience about a mother's search for her lost son, at a time of wars over land and racial misunderstanding. (by lindsayrshelton)
The best movie of Vincent Ward's unparalleled 25 year career. To his always uniquely beautiful images filmed by Alun Bollinger, one of New Zealand's greatest cameramen he adds an enthralling story not only about a mother's search for her lost son, but also about a time of violence in 19th Century colonial history when Maori and Pakeha were inextricably mixed on both sides of a war about land and racial misunderstanding. Moving performances by the great Maori actors Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison and by Samantha Morton. Sensational action sequences should give this epic <more>
production the widest appeal to general audiences, as well as providing a huge range of historical topics for further debate.
When I saw the two stars that the NZ Herald gave it I was not discouraged because the same critique gave King Kong 5 stars, which was the worst movie I've seen all year! River Queen was a beautiful movie. The depiction of the musket wars of colonial NZ was outstanding. The unique beauty of the NZ scenery was stunning, the music, which seemed to be an amazing mixture of Maori and Irish influence was very moving and added a great deal to the energy of the movie as a whole. The dramatic musical piece that was played just before the battles enhanced the anticipation of it all.I also have to <more>
add that when Boy did the solo I was so mesmerized by his voice that I didn't realize that he was singing an Irish song! I would see the movie again just for that scene alone! I enjoyed watching the characters. I don't think the acting was brilliant, although the boy was superb in the one scene where he's telling his mother off, but the actors themselves were attractive and enjoyable to watch.I would highly recommend this movie if you enjoy stunning scenery, visual artistic effects with water and color, a good story based on history, and nicely placed and original use of music, or if you enjoy learning the history of a very unique culture that so few people know of.
Thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing film (by Puckles83)
Boy did I enjoy River Queen. The scenery was stunning, the acting superb, the story brilliant, and the music was a hauntingly beautiful match to an incredible film. I always thought it would be great if a film was set during the Maori wars that was similar to Michael Mann's "The Last of the Mohicans". Well this it, with shades of Joffe's "The Mission" to boot.River Queen grabs you and draws you into a world that you only learned about in history books. It does not take sides but portrays the beautiful and the ugly in both sides to the conflict. The chemistry <more>
between the main actors is powerful and moving and keeps the people of the story to the fore, stopping them from being engulfed by the powerful images of the war.I always thought it would take our own Peter Jackson should be Sir Peter to make a film of this quality in New Zealand and about New Zealand. But I take my hat off to Vincent Ward. River Queen demonstrates that there is an amazing depth of movie making talent in this small country that time and again punches way above it's weight.
Visionary filmmaker polarizes public again (by BorrisB)
All Vincent Ward's movies have a heart, a visionary heart. It amazes me that he has managed to make as many movies as he has, as none of them have been block busters. They have all been personal and intense, and they have all added something to the world. None of them are just another genre type a,b or c movie. I had heard conflicting reviews about this one, but given his previous films particularly Navigator and What Dreams May Come I just had to go. It really got under my skin, it's a historical drama, but dream, desire, and vision saturate the story, making it like no other.Also <more>
being from Aotearoa and with Maori blood having been mixed into my veins, it was fantastic to see such a good film finally being made of that clash of cultures. How personal and close the wars were. The landscape and the Wanganui River were filmed to perfection.This movie haunts me. It's great to finally have another Vincent Ward movie. If only they released the other ones on DVD!
A wonderful story with too many facets. (by diane-34)
Peter Thompson, on this morning's Sunday show, gave River Queen a very favorable review; the review's timing was perfect because last evening Diane and I watched this new Kiwi film and drove home with mixed feelings about what we had just seen.Thompson's reviews are usually spot-on for us but in this instance we are still not sure. Yes, Vincent Ward's story was superb: huge amounts of recognizable human drama, multidimensional characters, a gigantic historical background and everything framed by New Zealand's natural beauty. Vincent's direction accentuated each of <more>
these elements; he made great use of the land's physical beauty as well as the beauty and uniqueness of the individual Maori people. This last comment will take on meaning with the watching of the film because certain Maori characteristics play a huge visual as well as plot role in the film-perhaps unexpectedly for some viewers more than others. Alun Bollinger's cinematography beautifully captures Ward's shot selection; it is impossible to leave the theater and not have been captivated by the physical beauty of the New Zealand landscape.I think the question must be asked: If I thought the film was so good, why did I only give it a rating of eight? The answer goes to the heart of why Diane and I were both uncomfortable with this superficially great film and that lies in the script, the third leg of Vincent's stool. We both thought the script was overly choppy; there were too many small pieces of story stitched together. I thought the film was too jumpy and that resulted in my concentration moving too quickly from one scene to another. I suppose that is just a matter of cinematic taste particular to one person and should not be used to paint an entire film.River Queen is definitely worth seeing. The subject matter alone is worth the effort, with excellent acting by all concerned and magnificent scenery beautifully captured in thee film. The film must indeed be judged highly.
I don't get why people want to spend their time nit-picking here about a movie. This film, like many, is obviously a labour of love and in this case, it really shows... who can fault that? I like estimate my own enjoyment of a film in how I feel walking back to the car... and how contemplative I might feel on it an hour later, a day later.This film did it for me. Is it an accurate depiction of events? probably not. Is there artistic license? Abundently so... but it all has the ring of authenticity. The acting was earnest, and mostly pretty good I think. Good enough for me to enjoy the <more>
characters, feel something for them, and be suspended for the duration of the story.No, I tell a lie there... there were moments when I was transported from the story, but that was when I was lifted by the sheer beauty of some of the scenes. When Sarah is dressing for a dying Doyle, when Boy is washing the blood of his mother's tattoo in the run-off from a cliff face. The action seemed a kind of dance, often enhanced by the slow motion effects. The colours and textures were delightful and added to a tapestry, an overall artistic effect that surely must be the point of creating a work of art like this.To criticise an interpretive work of motion art on 'accuracy' is like telling a Picasso that he can't draw.Bravo Mr Ward, cast and crew.
I enjoyed 'River Queen' better on second viewing. First time through, I found the story-line a tad confusing and even long winded in places. Admittedly, I was also distracted wondering whether it was shot on the Whanganui I grew up in and around Wanganui - the river has an 'h'; the city doesn't . At the end though, I was happy with the experience. Certainly happy enough to watch it again.On second viewing, familiar with the story and characters and confident in the knowledge that I was indeed looking at the Whanganui, the pace seemed good. I thought the acting good and I <more>
loved the scenery an ex-patriate's nostalgia perhaps? . I particularly appreciated the recreation of warfare in the New Zealand Wars.Others have suggested that the movie was unduly biased towards the Maori. This surprises me as, pakeha though I am, the thought did not cross my mind on either viewing.PS I recently found out that an ancestor of mine was in the Regiment depicted in the movie.