Reviews and notes
2012 Berlin, Vancouver
2013 Göteborg (Sweden)
The concept of mateship figures heavily in our national identity... Our greatest comedy export is a double act of seemingly best buddies, one of whom - Bret McKenzie – appears in this black comedy, which attempts to do for mateship what Psycho
did for moteliers and their mums. Well, sort of. It does suggest throughout its grimly entertaining frequently hilarious duration that mateship can be too much of a good thing – in the case of friends-since-school Nige (McKenzie) and Deano (Hamish Blake of Aussie comedy duo Hamish and Andy) it can turn into very bad thing involving an accidentally killed Norwegian backpacker and efforts to discreetly dispose of his remains in the Southland hinterland. But as with previous body-disposal black comedies like Shallow Grave
and Death in Brunswick
, the cadaver caper isn't the whole point of this. It's more about how, having made the decision to try to get away with it, the characters cope with the pressure, the guilt, the grim reality. In this case, not too well... Two Little Boys
is long way from being a Flight of the Conchords
meets Hamish and Andy movie. It's the second feature from director-writer brothers Robert and Duncan Sarkies who had much transgressive fun with their 1999 local hit Scarfies
, set up the road in Dunedin. Scarfies
had the advantage of an ensemble to sustain its energy and a tight spot to enclose them... But there's still something weirdly compelling about Two Little Boys
, care of the performances (Blake's especially) and its portrait of mateship gone mad.
- Russell Baillie, New Zealand Herald, 20 September 2012.
Two Little Boys
is the story of two feckless bogans in the poo way over their mullets. Nige (Bret McKenzie) is a well-meaning doofus with a good heart. Best mate Deano (Hamish Blake) is an altogether darker piece of work. He and Nige have been best friends for 15 years, and Deano doesn't want that situation to end.
But when we meet the boys, Nige has moved out of the flat he shared with Deano, and moved in with his new mate Gav (Maaka Pohatu). Nige and Deano's relationship was unhealthily co-dependent, and Nige has broken away. Deano is absolutely septic on it, but Nige is showing no signs of coming home. Until, one late night, in his clapped out Ford Laser, Nige runs over and kills a hapless Norwegian backpacker, and turns back to the one person he knows will not let him down in a crisis: Deano.
Of course, Nige can't simply go to the police and fess up. That would be too simple. And so, in that great adolescent tradition of taking a bad situation and making it infinitely worse, Deano convinces Nige that they must hide the body. Bad idea.
Two Little Boys
is a black comedy of murder and dismemberment wrapped around a tale of a childhood friendship gone horribly awry. The tone, as it must, lurches alarmingly from sweet and nostalgic to bloodthirsty and manic.
Nige's transition from Deano's mate to the only person who can see Deano for the monster he has become (or always was) is well played. McKenzie handles his character well, but Blake gives him a great performance to react against. His Deano is wheedling, pathetic, frightening, threatening, and hugely funny. Often all within one scene.
Between them, Pohatu's Gav is a fantastic creation. When the film needs a heart, and something to drag it away from the Dumb and Dumber
farce it veers towards becoming, Pohatu ballasts the story, lends it some pathos, and at the same time sends up every poetry scribbling dolphin hugger you've ever met.
It doesn't all work - credulity is stretched beyond breaking point by the incompetence of the local cops, while Deano appears to teleport at one point. And while McKenzie is excellent on screen, his voice-over - especially in the opening scenes - often seems to belong to another person entirely.
But Two Little Boys
is still a film to be thankful for. It is unmistakably us, (though I think the Aussies will love it too) crowd pleasing, exuberant and unafraid of its own story, and exceptionally well-shot, soundtracked, and strung together. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it.
- Graeme Tuckett, Dominion Post, 22 Sepetmber 2012.
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