Once Were Warriors

Plot: Jake often drinks and takes his anger out on those around him, including his wife, Beth. She is often at the other end of his fists. Their kids also have their own problems, one of them is joining a gang, the other has been removed from the family home and the other uses her journal to keep herself away from the drama.

Year: 1994

Director: Lee Tamahori

Starring: Temuera Morrison, Rena Owen, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Cliff Curtis and Julian Arahanga.

This is a New Zealand film that I thoroughly enjoyed if you can say that about a film like this because it did have a lot of violence in it and a rape scene that wasn’t pleasant to watch at all. The music was the best part. It was so quirky and upbeat. There were a lot of difficult scenes to watch in this film so the happy soundtrack kind of took the edge off a little bit and made things a little lighter. My favourite song on the soundtrack is What’s the Time Mr Wolf.

I’ve had this song in my head since I watched it. At the minute I’m watching a lot of foreign films and I’m really enjoying them. I didn’t expect to enjoy this one but I would definitely recommend it to anyone and I would definitely watch it again. I was intrigued by the story all the way through. If you are going to watch it though be prepared for some rough scenes that you might find difficult to watch. Like I said above, there is a lot of violence and a rape scene.



I’m going to talk about the rape scene just because it was horrific. The daughter in the family was sleeping one night and her father’s friend came into her room and raped her. It lasted quite a while as well and then we see her cleaning herself up after and it was just horrible. She’s only a child. Her parents were so blind to it as well. At the end of the film the family find out what happened and the father almost kills the man that raped his daughter but I thought it was so hypocritical of him because earlier on in the film after he hit his wife he raped her. So he’s just as bad as his friend.

The saddest part for me was when the daughter returns home one day and the man that raped her is sat in her living room drinking with her father and their friends and he has the cheek to ask her for a kiss on the cheek. That made me feel sick. She said no and her father got aggressive with her which made her run out of the house. In that moment I was thinking to myself if I was her I’d kill myself because she was so trapped with nowhere to go, it was scary and that’s exactly what she did. She hung herself in the garden. It was horrible and I actually welled up a little bit.


This film is the perfect example of all the social problems. These kids are being raised in a toxic environment. It’s not good for them and sooner or later something is going to happen that can’t be reversed and that’s what happened. I know it’s hard for the mother to get out of that situation but it felt like she didn’t want to leave her husband, even after he hit her and that’s what I couldn’t understand. Yes, she loves him but she has to think about her kids and put them first.

The ending was very satisfactory. She finally gets herself and her kids away from their father but the girl still died and that was really heartbreaking. It’s a film worth watching for sure.

Rating: 8/10.


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