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Insatiable Moon, The


Stars: Rawiri Paratene, Sara Wiseman, Ian Mune, Greg Johnson, Mick Innes, Jason Hoyes, Sophie Halcaria, Sarah Valentine, Don Linden, Lee Tuson, Rob McCulley

Director: Rosemary Riddell

Capra-esque movies are rare these days which makes this New Zealand comedy-drama about a mentally-ill Maori, played by Whale Rider star Paratene who declares himself the “Second Son of God” and saves a suburban New Zealand boarding house for a splendid collection of mentally ill people with no homes of their own, very welcome. And it's all the more enjoyable for its unashamedly heart-warming happy ending.

Director Riddell effectively establishes the milieu – a middle-class suburb of Auckland – with a montage of short street scenes before settling down to bringing her producer-husband’s screenplay to life, which she does with commendable warmth and, more importantly, without patronising her mentally ill characters who emerge as worth fighting for against the tsunami of middle-class suburban people, who, abetted by a greedy estate agent, want to buy the place, and get the boarding house, and its challenged and often raucous residents removed from their comfortable environment.

The blend of comedy, sentiment, appropriate but sometimes startling bad language and sexual element (Paratene has a not entirely credible-within-context sexual liaison with community worker Wiseman) sometimes segues into naivety but not often enough to destroy the pleasure to be derived from a sincere, effectively cast, well-acted and attractively characterized film whose essence is neatly summed up by the line: "Mad is what you can't make sense of".

Alan Frank

New Zealand 2010. UK Distributor: Blue Dolphin. Colour.
101 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 02 Mar 2011