Local Oscar nominee Taika Waititi's debut feature is a deliciously tangy, deadpan love story between two incurable fancy dress and gaming geeks, Lily (Loren Horsley) and Jarrod (Jemaine Clement).
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Infamous for feigning sleep at the Oscars when the nomination for his short film Two Cars, One Night was announced, filmmaker Taika Waititi continues his singular, subversive and glittering career with this deliciously tangy, deadpan feature debut. Starring talented local actors Loren Horsley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Waititi, and long-time collaborator Jemaine Clement, one half of singing duo Flight of the Conchords, Eagle has been described as a romantic version of cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite – except that it's funnier and way more surreal. Horsley plays Lily, an awkward, sweet-natured girl with stringy hair, who is quite captivating once you get to know her – only no one ever bothers. She works as a cashier in the fast‑food joint Meaty Boy and pines after Jarrod (Clement), the self-aggrandising, clueless geek from the computer store across the mall. Determined to make him her own, Lily crashes Jarrod's fancy dress party dressed as a shark and impresses the self-styled ‘Eagle Lord' enough with her costume and gaming prowess to score a tour of his bedroom. Soon Lily and her brother Damien (Joel Tobeck, in droll form as a compulsive impersonator) are driving Jarrod back to his home town to confront his childhood nemesis. But here Jarrod's self-absorption blossoms so mightily it threatens to drive away even the most adoring of girlfriends. Charming music from The Phoenix Foundation underscores every step of the turbulent romance. Filmed on locations around Wellington and Titahi Bay, with art direction that implies it might still be the 1980s, at least in Lily's imagination, Eagle is a hilarious, endearing look at life on the geek side. — Bianca Zander