3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
No, really not an NZ Napoleon Dynamite!,
This review is from: Eagle Vs Shark [DVD] (DVD)
Like many others my interest in this film only came about as a result of Flight of the Conchords - it is a small independent film from NZ and I do not go to the cinema more than twice a year. It has been compared to Napolean Dynamite - but really it is a very different film.
The only similarity is the focus of the geeky outsiders as central characters, of which there are many examples in recent years. Lily and Jarrod are exaggerated characters, but only slightly - we all know people who really do not see the world through mainstream eyes and feel that they are cool when everyone else is laughing, and these are those kinds of people. But it is more than laughing at awkward geeks who don't know how to dress. Lily is a kind and gentle soul who inexplicably loves Jarrod, and when he treats her like crap she is still the epitome of kindness. Somehow, however, this does not come across as her having low self esteem, and she is a much more central character than the blurb on the back of the dvd would have you believe.
This film will not suit everyone. Someone described it to me as 'very odd'. I did not find it very odd. I thought that it was mostly very realistic, but some may find it too off mainstream and not empathise with the characters. It is also quite slow, and that of course means that some will find it boring, I found that it adds to the realism. It is not a realistic film in many ways - there is some cute animation that pops up now and then, and the cinema Lily waited outside and the video game that Lily excels at are fictional - put in to create world that is subtly different to the real one. It is these little details that give the film its charm, and also the humour - the scene where Jarrod finally meets his school bully is hilarious with a hand over the mouth - I guess someone might find it offensive, but it works.
The director acknowledged that his actors were a bit old for the characters that they are portraying - that this kind of story is more suited to people in their early 20s, but their geekiness compensates for this a bit. Besides, there is a culture of delayed maturity throughout Western society where 30 can still be seen as young enough to have this kind of life.