The Pa Boys: Movie Review
Cast: Francis Kora, Matariki Whatarau, Juanita Hepi, Roimata Fox
Director: Himiona Grace
From the producer of such Kiwi cinematic luminaries as Eagle vs Shark and Boy comes this new feature, hitting cinemas on Waitangi Day.
Set in contemporary Wellington, it's the story of a reggae band, The Pa Boys, who are made up of two mates, and a new flattie, Tau. Deciding to go on a pub tour "down north", the boys face the inevitable tensions of life on the road.
But for Danny (Fran Kora) it's a bigger issue - the appearance of the spiritually centred and in-touch-with-his-ancestors Tau (Matariki Whatarau) causes wider concerns, with his feeling of displacement coming to the fore.
And these worries and insecurities threaten to derail the band's easy musical rapport....
The Pa Boys has a relaxed and gently soulful vibe to it that's hard to deny - if you're expecting another Mt Zion style film, then you'll be in for a shock because Grace's put together a flick which addresses spiritual concerns and accepting your roots ahead of any major musical influence.
While Danny has a growing sense of resentment and alienation, the opposite can be said of Tau in this simply told story and the gentle push and pull helps propel it along. Occasionally, the movie drifts a little as its focus wanders and it can in the odd moment or two, feel like a Maori history lesson as Tau waxes lyrical about how the North island was fished up, but along with the strong use of the scenery and spiritually reflective tone of the movie, The Pa Boys is a measured movie which will strike a chord with some more than others.
The music scenes give an eclectic glimpse into the pub touring circuit and encapsulate the small town vibes and attitudes towards bands heading their way; and the music benefits from having an actual singer on duties.
The ensemble cast are solid with Danny (Kora) giving enough of a feeling of alienation and loss.
All in all, The Pa Boys is a solid debut from Grace; with a little more editing and potentially a little more story, it could have soared a little higher.