14 October 2012

Two Little Boys

In Two Little Boys Robert and Duncan Sarkies have produced a professional, unpredictable black comedy that draws on three strong lead performances from Bret McKenzie, Australian comedian Hamish Blake and local Maaka Pohatu, that adds plentiful helpings of the rugged and isolated Catlins scenery to an examination of male camaraderie under duress. The quality of the performances was impressive - I knew McKenzie could carry a role, but Blake and newcomer Pohatu were also very likeable onscreen.

Set in Invercargill in 1993, this is the tale of a cover-up that ensues when mulleted dullard Nige (McKenzie) accidentally runs over a Norwegian backpacker. Nige's life-long best mate Deano (Blake) steps in to take charge of the pleasingly inept cover-up process, only to have matters complicated by the arrival of Nige's new mate Gav (Pohatu), a laid-back, philosophical chap whose innate optimism and sunny disposition threatens to undermine both the cover-up and the long-standing relationship between Nige and Deano. Two Little Boys is solid work and shows Blake certainly has the talent to further grow his acting career. It might struggle in America with its plentiful (and amusing) swearing - one scene consists of an argument conducted almost solely through the use of the f-word - but I found that aspect both authentic and appealing. And I think we can all agree that y-fronts are just inherently humorous, no matter what the situation.

I also enjoyed the helicopter shots of Gav's ancient Bedford van and Nige's rooty old bumblebee-coloured Laser barrelling through Catlins curves to the sound of Blam Blam Blam's 'There Is No Depression in New Zealand', particularly given the fact that the previous scene had established that someone was cross with Deano for pinching the entire 'B' section of their CD collection. The film's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' moment is the three lads enjoying The Swingers' 'Counting The Beat', which works well because it is of course a catchy classic number, but also because it was by a New Zealand group and had topped the pop charts in both New Zealand and Australia back in 1981, thereby tying into the film's ambitions of targeting the trans-Tasman market. (The film is released in Australia on 15 November).

My only suggestion is that Deano and Nige's bogan roots weren't explicitly addressed in the soundtrack. Seeing as the film was set in 1993, I wondered if an airing for the cartoon hair metal of Push Push's 'Trippin' might have been in order. Sure, it would mean nothing to Australian listeners, and perhaps Push Push were 'too Auckland' for proper southern blokes - but it would have been bloody funny. And no doubt Mikey Havoc could do with the royalties.

Note: trailer NSFW (swearing)

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