Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Bludgeon NZIFF Review

Bludgeon NZIFF Review

Carrying on the trend ploughed by Florian Habicht et al, Ryan Heron and Andy Deere's Bludgeon is a small treasure on the NZIFF programme, a doco that has elements of the Office and the heart of an against-the-odds competition.

It follows a group of modern knights looking to represent NZ in the sport of 'medieval combat', something one competitor intones should be an Olympic sport.

Starting with a montage of knights fighting and cutting to the reality of the Steel Thorns running drills in a deserted carpark, Heron and Deere's self-effacing, yet affectionate, doco has stardom writ large upon it.
Bludgeon NZIFF Review

Taking us through the journey are various members of the realm. From rookie Nick Waiariki, his mullet as strong as his desire to knight and whose helmet resides securely fastened on the back seat of his car to Martainn "The Machine" Cuff, Captain of the Thorns, who has a fear of wolves and whose tendency toward David Brentism is revealed early on by a line "We've got around 290 likes on Facebook today, by the end of the day, I hope to make 297 or maybe 300", this is your usual gaggle of awkwardness writ large.

But rather than mock those Geeks meets Jocks fighters, Deere and Heron's funny doco gets to the bottom of a sub-set in middle Earth for whom honour and code of conduct forms the basis of much.

In many ways, like Pecking Order did, Bludgeon threatens to expose a rift that seems unnecessary to bridge, before wisely pulling back into a character piece and celebration of what New Zealanders truly are.

Deere and Heron's camera lingers unobtrusively throughout, and catches fleeting moments that reveal much - certainly "The Machine"'s fear of wolves gives much fodder and payback later on.

Packed with humour and heart, with a genial outlook and large swathes of humanity, Bludgeon is yet another celebration of what truly makes New Zealand tick, and another demonstration that all walks of life deserve celebration, even when their unswerving devotion to their cause bemuses and amuses.

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