Boy (2010) - A film Review
My family and I had the pleasure of watching 'Boy' yesterday evening and similar to most of Taika Waititi's work, it was a joy to watch. I have been a fan of his work since watching 'What we do in the shadows' a couple of years ago and 'Boy' was no exception.
I thought that I could write a couple of short reviews on films that I watch during this period of self-isolation. There are a couple of films I have in mind and I have lots to say about them, so please keep an eye for those reviews.
Boy takes place in 1984 and follows the life of Alamein, who just goes by Boy, hence the title. As with most of Waititi's films, it is set in New Zealand. Boy is an 11 year old boy who loves Micheal Jackson and daydreaming about the fantastical life his father leads whilst he is away from his younger brother Rocky and his Grandmother. The film takes place over the course of a week and shows the Grandmother leaving the children to attend a funeral down in Wellington. Not long after Boy's father returns, he is also named Alamein along with his 'gang' the crazy horses. They hand the children several stolen items which they pass off as 'gifts'. Soon things take a turn for chaos as Alamein's true intentions are revealed.
I always seem to enjoy films that are from the POV of kids or teens, the classic coming of age story is often cliche and slightly cringey but watching genuine people stumble through a journey that allows them some self-discovery is always interesting to me. It's that time in your life where you actively making choices that shape you as a person and what will be in your future. Boy is no exception, we see Boy start the film off as a kind kid who genuinely does care for his younger brother and cousins, even if he doesn't always show it. Aside from this he does crave the attention of his father, as most children do, so he does what he thinks is right and transforms himself into everything he thinks his father would want of him. Although it takes Boy the entire length of the film to realise what kind of person his father is, he still makes that reaction by himself which is definitely admirable.
Waititi perfectly captures the imagination of Boy or most children in the sequences where Boy is describing a scene that he is envisioning. These short scenes are fantastical in nature and perfectly timed for comedy. They also showcase Waititi's acting skills. His portrayal of the absent criminal father in Boy was excellent, he was awkward yet confident around the children and as na audience we just knew not to trust his character. Seeing this whilst also seeing the pedestal that Boy puts him on is especially potent.
Waititi does a fabulous job of showcasing the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand in his work and this film is no exception. Although the film takes place in one small village, we are still treated to some amazing views of seashores, rolling hills and fields that are very kiwi.