New Zealand’s Boy combines Michael Jackson mania and coming of age to create a dark comedy with a talented, eclectic cast.
It’s 1984 and Boy (James Rolleston) fantasizes about his father arriving home to see him and his brother, Rocky (Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu), who live with their grandmother and several other parentless cousins on a farm in rural poverty. Boy is certain that when his dad returns, he will be the father Boy has dreamed of and will take him to see Michael Jackson live.
Boy’s granny, Alamein’s mother, is away for a week and has left Boy in charge. But, he’s 11 and soon the place becomes a madhouse. During this same week, his father, Alamein (Taika Waititi also Boy’s writer and director) returns after seven years in the clink. The wanna-be gangster is joined by the two sole members of his gang—the Crazyhorses. Boy falls under his spell. Alamein is set on finding an old stash of money and bolting. Rocky is having a crisis, convinced he has magical powers that can cause injury to others. Boy’s obsession with Michael Jackson is a vehicle for killer dance moves by Alamein, the red and black Thriller jacket (as well as other winning ‘80s fashions) and unforgettable choreography.
Director and co-star Waititi also directed some episodes of Flight of the Concords (and had an uncredited cameo) and Eagle vs. Shark. Rolleston, Waititi and Eketone-Whitu are outstanding. Each member of Boy’s posse could lead his/her own movie. And, Boy’s female cousin deserves a shout-out as the old soul who knows none of this will turn out well. With her mere looks and expressions, she boldly carries her character.
This movie is like the shy kid in the corner, who once you get talking you cannot believe you never noticed because he’s an irreverent delight. Boy delves into difficult themes positively, avoiding sentimentality, and finishes with a must-see rendition of Thriller. Will Boy make it to the US? Check out the official site where you can view trailers and read much more about it.
Writer/Director/Star: Taika Waititi
Country: New Zealand
Run time: 86 minutes