Wednesday 25 May 2011


Starring Ray Winstone and Temuera Morrison, the New Zealand set Tracker is now out on DVD. Watch the trailer, next...

Tracker tells the story of Arjan Van Diemen (Ray Winstone), a South African farmer who seeks refuge in New Zealand at the end of the Boer War. Having lost the fight for his homeland, he is recruited to try and track down Kereama (Temuera Morrison), a Maori who's been wrongfully accused of killing a British soldier.

After the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy it almost goes without saying that the New Zealand backdrop is beautiful, varied and a delight to look at; but alone it's still not enough of a selling point to keep you engaged for the 100 minute running time of Tracker. Rather plodding in its early scenes that set up the ensuing chase, when the two main characters finally do meet up, the film really kicks into gear. Both purveyors of gruff masculinity, the warring men find some common ground in the histories and goals of their people; both underdogs in wars they could never win. Although sympathetic to the prejudices Kereama faces, Van Diemen never forgets that he still has a job to do.

The scenes of their somewhat acrimonious friendship are when the film is at its most engaging, like some sort of colonial Midnight Run. During one stand out scene the two men face off on the bank of a river, each refusing to back down when faced with death. There's a witty banter shared between the two men, and Winstone even manages to deliver a believable South African accent that could have gone so horribly wrong. Temuera Morrison, still so recognisable as the lead of Once Were Warriors, brings a rich Maori heritage to his character. It's believable that he could be playing one of his ancestors.

As a history lesson, this only scratches the surface of our colonial past, and if it wasn't for the chemistry and performances of its two leads, I could quite easily be reporting that this film was a bit of a let down. However uneven in pace, once we're past the early, slow scenes Tracker delivers an entertaining central premise and an intriguing finale.


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