Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
Tyrannical Love announces the arrival of Scott Boswell, whose abundant talents – as a writer, producer and director of actors – are happily evident in every jocular frame. Set deep in the heart of Pakuranga on the cusp of Y2K, it’s a romantic comedy in which the guys and the girls are such good buddies they can’t always distinguish between true friendship and true love. This is especially so for unemployed film school graduate Nick. The night after he’s fallen into bed with longstanding friend Maddie, he’s woken by a call from his sexy ex, back from Wellington and clearly intent on rekindling his flame. After consulting his two filmmaker buddies, Tick and Chad, both played, you should be tipped off, by the ubiquitous Boswell. Nick sets the two women a series of tests.
These tests prove increasingly irrelevant as other twosomes in Nick’s orbit, also teetering on the brink of coupledom, rearrange themselves and redefine his options in the process. Meanwhile, Maddie’s belligerent ex-boyfriend helps get everybody else in touch with their true feelings by expressing his. Like any self-respecting young filmmaker assaying popular genre in 2005, Boswell has tricked out an already complicated plot with complications of the meta-fictional persuasion: Tyrannical Love is a hot item in the video store that opens the film – and the aforementioned Tick and Chad are apparently the rip-off artists who made it. Follow that one and see where it gets you. The influences of the Farrellys and the Kevin Smith of Clerks are evident, but Boswell’s deftly balanced comic exploration of love and friendship bespeaks a natural flair for revelling in the formulaic while hitting on a few home-truths. Studio spotters are hereby alerted. — BG
"If you want to see a Kiwi film along the lines of American Pie meets Reality Bites that shows the quirkiness of love and life when you’re no longer a kid and not quite an adult, then keep an eye out come July. Or if you want to check out what you can put together with a few thousand dollars, 15 weekends, a bunch of actors not from Shortland Street, three months of editing, a compilation of unsigned bands’ original music, and a crew of die-hard film nuts, then I’ll see you there." — Scott Boswell, Onfilm