Friday, July 16, 2010


The Film Festival's Wellington season kicked off tonight with the New Zealand Premiere of Predicament which is the film of a novel by the same name. This black and comic tale is set in 1930's Taranaki,and it's teenager hero is named Cedric. He is a slightly anorexic-looking version of Harry Potter and he and the movie have a kind of story-book yesteryear charm - think Boys' own annual, or possibly the Famous Five, and then try to imagine how either of those might try to handle a tale involving murder and sex.

It's school holidays and Cedric becomes acquainted with an unemployed petty criminal named Mervyn and his creepy but hilarious side-kick, Spook. They hatch a plan to blackmail some unfortunate locals, particularly the property developer who ripped off Cedric's Grandmother. As the plan is executed Cedric wrestles elaborately with his conscience about his level of participation and anything that can go wrong does go wrong. You'll have to go and see the movie to find out what happens but I can promise you a wholesomely happy, if somewhat cunning, ending to an unwholesome tale.

Predicament doesn't take itself very seriously. It makes fun of all sorts of things, and all kinds of movie genres but especially thrillers and detective stories. There is gloriously deadpan humour, some slapstick physical comedy and some "lets zoom-right-in-your-face" camera work.It is very atmospheric and the dialogue is witty. Spook (played by Jemaine Clement) is a joy to watch and listen to - he materialises from nowhere and almost steals the show.

I could happily watch this movie again tomorrow - I feel there's plenty more to appreciate than I took in in one viewing.

Anne's rating 4/5
Ian's rating 3/4

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