TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Muru’

Posted in TIFF 2022 by - September 17, 2022
TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Muru’

Violence is a threat until becomes a reality. Or at least that may be a perspective on violence that comes from privilege, that neglects the toxic relationship between the colonizer and the Indigenous. Muru at least gives a century worth of context, where colonizers of Aoteaora (New Zealand) killed individuals that they label as terrorists. The same happens in 2007, when the settler state investigates a Maori community for planning an attack. One of those they accuse of that plot is a Maori cop, “Taffy” Tāwharau (Cliff Curtis), and investigating him is his brother, another cop whom a group of investigators recruited. Comprising that group are a mix of Maori and settlers (including Jay Ryan and Manu Bennett), whose actions vary when things get more tense.

Muru has many merits outside of me agreeing to the film’s politics. This film is the Maori side of the story, which may be opposite from the settler police force’s version of the events. First of those other merits is Curtis’ performance. There’s a lot of physicality involved in a what is essentially a police thriller and Curtis keeps up with a cast that are mostly younger than him. Speaking of police thrillers, there are a lot of moving parts here and the filmmaking competently juggles all of them. Another part of this juggling act is making the viewers understand the tragedy of all of this, which it greatly does. All of these parts lead to a powerful ending that is thankfully not preachy.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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