Run time: 102 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Drama
Director: Ian Sharp
Writers: Nicolas van Pallandt
Stars: Ray Winstone, Temuera Morrison, Gareth Reeves
An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his fugitive, only to learn that he’s innocent of the crime. When faced with the life changing decision to turn him in or set him free only one man will walk away alive. Written by Elizabeth Obermeier, Marketing Manager
|Plot Keywords: one word title|
Country: New Zealand, UK
Release Date: 29 April 2011 (UK)
Budget: $6,500,000 (estimated)
I saw Tracker at a preview screening a few days back and wasn't sure what to expect – The idea of Ray Winstone attempting a South African Accent in particular made me nervous. And it does get off to a slowish start. But…
As soon as the chase is underway the film really opens out. Moments of genuine threat, tension and some really quite crunchy violence are counterbalanced by a pervading air of melancholy – hunter and hunted have both lost everything – and an increasing dramatic weight to the story as they find common ground whilst engaged in a high risk game of cat and mouse.
It's not the most psychologically complicated movie in the world, basically being a boys own action film, but it's made well, with obvious love and attention to detail plus two towering central performances from the leads. And it has a heart. By the time the film reached it's climax I was properly choked up and genuinely on the edge of my seat.
And Ray did a good job with the accent after all.
I am not sure what the complaints are all about. The acting is brilliant, the story line holds together just fine. The scenery is fantastic. It is culturally and historically sensitive.
The back and forth in the story between the Tracker and the Maori escapee is reminiscent of another great movie, Hell in the Pacific, which starred Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin. Each of them would get the upper hand from time to time.
This movie had me on the edge of my seat and the twist at the end had me gasping. I cannot say enough about this movie. All I can say is watch it!
Archetypal Londoner, Ray Winstone plays Arjan Van Diemen, a staunchly anti-British character, who fought against the Brits in the Second Boer War. He's come to New Zealand to confront them for scorching his farm and murdering his family. Instead of receiving retribution or an apology, he is invited to track a Maori on the run for the (false) charge of killing a British soldier. The reward is 100 sovereigns alive, 25 dead.
The casting director can't have had many names in the hat for the role of Kereama, so Kiwi Temuera Morrison seems stereotypical. But for a man who I still remember for T.V.'s 'Shortland Street', Morrison more than holds his own. Winstone's presence doesn't faze him. The plot ensures he is integral and not just a brown-skinned irrelevance, and he demonstrates an impressive Maori lexicon to prove it. It's not a natural pairing, but they have unmistakable chemistry. Both are educated, worldly and principled. They have a mutual respect.
Winstone's rotund frame (he's a Boer, but looks more like a bear) suits his weathered character in a way that it hasn't in his recent tough-guy roles. To track Kereama he has to be agile, self-sufficient and able to summon his skills as a South African bushman. He shows in a gritty, punch-up that he still has the moves. And he pulls off a convincing accent.
What stood out for me was New Zealand. Cinema has scarcely photographed a more magnificent land. The mountain ranges, woodlands, lakes and rivers are a pleasure to behold. You can watch 'Tracker' just for the scenery; it really is that attractive.
What spoiled it was the constant to-ing and fro-ing. Van Diemen loses Kereama every time he catches him, though their constant reintroductions allow them to size each other up a bit more. Kereama expostulates 'We both hate the British'. 'I don't hate the British', Van Diemen defies, 'I hated my God, for a time'.
I didn't understand why Van Diemen accepts the task. Money can't be his motivation because that would undermine his case for what the British did to him. Winstone's passion didn't come through for me, and Morrison's sudden embracing of Maori customs and incantations, including a flaccid enactment of the Haka while on the run seemed forced.
There's some fun action, however, set against beautiful, sweeping vistas, but ultimately I wasn't moved enough to believe in the characters or their motivations.
I saw this film for the second time last night and fell in love with it all over again. If you want to lose yourself in a beautifully directed film with the most spellbinding scenery and cinematography, then this movie is a must. Ray Winston keeps that special something that we all love and expect from his acting, the support is by the by, as the two main character make the movie and i would have been happy with just the two of them in the movie. The drawing together of the two main characters story is a stroke of genius, with some very comical moments that made me laugh out loud. You soon learn to love the characters and feel emotional for the pain and suffering they have both experienced and had to learn to overcome. Thanks for a real non-hyped, relaxing film that will stay fresh for years to come.