Utu (1983)

Genres - Adventure, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Political Drama  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - New Zealand  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Utu is the Maori word for "Retribution," which sums up the chief motivating factor of this New Zealand-produced drama. Set in the 1870s, the film details the exigencies of British Colonial rule. A Maori scout, Te Wheke (Anzac Wallace), stumbles across a native village that has been destroyed in a British raid. Since it is the scout's own village, he deserts the British army, the better to seek "utu." Leading a vigilante force consisting of his fellow Maoris, Te Wheke kills as many British settlers as he can get his hands on. The feverish conviction of his crusade is in stark contrast to the attitudes of the British, who seem more concerned with material possessions than with human beings. Popular down under star Bruno Lawrence is cast as a vengeance-driven settler who makes it his personal mission in life to end Te Wheke's reign of terror. The most expensive New Zealand-filmed project to date, Utu was an enormous success upon its first domestic release; the American version runs some 15 minutes shorter than the original.



battle [war], bloodshed, brutality, colonialism, cross-cultural-relations, family, Maori, murder, rampage, revenge, slaughter, tribe, village, army