Synopsis by Mark Deming
The 1994 drama Once Were Warriors told a sad but compelling tale of violence and alcoholism in New Zealand's Maori community, and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? picks up the story several years later, though the focus is less on an individual family than the spread of gang warfare among the modern-day Maori. Jake and Beth Heke (Temuera Morrison and Rena Owen), the combative couple in the first film, have now split up, Beth having lost her patience with Jake's alcoholism and violent temper. Beth has moved on and lives with her new boyfriend, and while Jake also has a new relationship, his binge drinking and violence have continued unabated. Jake's eldest son, Nig (Julian Arahanga) has fared little better in life, and dies in a fight with a member of a rival gang. At Nig's funeral, Jake is confronted by Beth and his younger son, Sonny (Clint Eruera), who feels Jake abandoned his family and doesn't mind telling him so. Sonny decides he must avenge Nig's death and joins forces with Nig's girlfriend Tania (Nancy Brunning) and his pal Mookie (Tammy Davis) to exact their own kind of justice. However, an unpleasant run-in with the Black Snakes gang only earns them more enemies. Jake, meanwhile, is dropped by his girlfriend and sinks even deeper into the abyss of his demons. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? was directed by Ian Mune, continuing the story begun by filmmaker Lee Tamahori.
Maori, New-Zealand, death-in-family, son, street-gang, violence, father, revenge, alcoholism