The New Zealand film Once Were Warriors (1994) is definitely one of film history's best and most gripping depictions of domestic violence. Who can forget the almost sickeningly painful scene where Jake Heke abuses his beloved wife Beth? What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? is the long awaited follow-up to this successful film, popular both with the critics and the audience. In the first film, Beth finally manages to leave Jake to get away from the violence and the unsettled life her and the children are living. In the beginning of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? we follow Jake, who has continued his disorderly life and spends most of his time in the local bar, McClutchy's, unaware that his eldest son gets drawn into a gang war and killed. Thereafter the film focuses on how the youngest son infiltrates the underworld to revenge his brother's death, and how Jake tries to shape things back into order. Many things are recognizable from the first film - amongst others the actors, the contemporary Maori culture of Auckland, characterized by a macho-milieu, and the violence, which is still as brutal and importunate. In contrast to the original though, there are certain inclinations towards a heroic action drama here. The film feels like a mixture between Death Wish and Ken Loach's kitchen-sink dramas. Just like in Once Were Warriors we get to follow one specific story, but in many ways this story is also universal. On the other hand, what differentiates the two films is the way in which the story is told. In Once Were Warriors feelings are constantly turned inside and out, backwards and forwards. In What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? there is hardly a single scene without tension and melancholy. We are not given a chance to catch our breaths. Everything is dark and we feel pity for the characters.

Krigarens hjärta
Ian Mune
103 min
Open Zone
What becomes of the broken hearted
Temeura Morrison, Rena Owen, Clint Eurera
Bill Gavi n
Alan Duff
David Hirschfelder

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