- Film Worth:$12.00
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It's a backhanded compliment, but true: the title of No. 2 is its lowest ebb....
It's a backhanded compliment, but true: the title of No. 2 is its lowest ebb. The name indicates little of the rich colour (brown notwithstanding) contained in a rollicking 93-minute running time and actually refers to a mysterious heir apparent in the story. The film is good enough to find a highly enthusiastic art house and mainstream audience regardless. When Nanna Maria (American import Ruby Dee), an octogenarian widow in Auckland's Mt. Roskill, is inspired by a dream of her charmed childhood in Fiji, she begins to grieve for the disintegration of her extended family. She misses the passion, fighting and feasting that have slowly leaked out of their culture. On her last legs, wheezing and heaving, Nanna Maria asks her splintered relatives to congregate for a feast, at the end of which she will name her successor. With trees to lop down and a pig to be procured, killed and cooked up, tensions are boiling over well before sunset.
Tanging with a rich and very real south pacific flavour, this character-driven ensemble has global appeal - it scooped the dramatic World Cinema audience award at Sundance. The strange alliances and divisive situations are brilliantly played out by a vibrant cast, and director Toa Fraser has clearly adapted his acclaimed play for the big screen painstakingly. The large repertory hinges on a bravura turn from the iconic Ruby Dee (Do The Right Thing, The Jackie Robinson Story, A Raisin In The Sun). It turns out to be a successful gamble, because her screen baggage ensures an otherworldly aura that fits perfectly with Nanna Maria's larger-than-life persona. It's hard not to get swept up in the swell of this fine storytelling.