A Song of Good

Director: Gregory King
Year: 2008
Country: New Zealand
Running time: 84 mins
New Zealand
Producer: Mark Foster
Executive producers: Leanne Saunders, Ant Timpson, Paul Swadel
Screenplay: Gregory King
Photography: Virginia Loane
Editor: Jonathan Venz
Music: Dylan Wood
R16 sexual violence, drug use, offensive language

With: Gareth Reeves, Ian Mune, Danielle Cormack, Caleb Griffiths, Jarod Rawiri, Matthew Sunderland, Darien Takle

Festivals: Rotterdam 2008, Karlovy Vary 2008
Gregory King, director of the scabrous Christmas, applies taboo-prodding humour to palpable human pain with ever more disconcerting effect in his second feature. Young Gary (Gareth Reeves), strung out from amphetamines and dope and so panicky that he barely knows what he's doing, breaks into a neighbour's house and commits a disgusting crime. In the dazed aftermath, Gary resolves to redeem himself, to go clean, find a job, help his sister take care of her kid; in short, to become a good person. How easy is that going to be when everyone he knows thinks he's gone soft in the head, and the victim of his crime languishes in misery next door? King explores Gary's particular place in trashed Kiwi suburbia with an eye that's cool and cruel but never devoid of fellow feeling. A superb cast venture gamely into the tonal minefield. Danielle Cormack and Ian Mune, wearing only his grunds, respond with some of their best-ever screen work. — BG

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