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Movie Review – Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell

Like Mike
Like Mike

I’ve been seeing every New Zealand film that has come out recently, which isn’t something I normally do, as even though I’m a New Zealand film maker myself, the ones we make as a country don’t often appeal to me. However, with my job as a reviewer I get invited along to all the latest film releases and this has allowed me to check them all out, but sadly most of them just aren’t up to scratch. Of course they all have their good parts, but mostly they fall flat and aren’t nearly as good as the shorts we are able to produce. So when ‘Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell’ popped up on my invite list I held out hope this could be a decent kiwi film.

“Meet Gazza Snell: entrepreneur, kart club president, and Man About Howick. His obsession with his teen boys’ go-karting careers has alienated his wife and pushed his family to the financial brink. And yet he smiles through it all, equal parts Charmer, Great Dad, and Frustrating Bastard. You probably know a guy just like him . . . Gazza’s world is turned upside down when his boys collide on the track, forcing him to fight to keep his dreams afloat, and his family together. The Hopes & Dreams of Gazza Snell is a father’s coming of age - about letting go and finding something much stronger to hold on to.”

What is it with New Zealand films and cheating? This is the third film in a row I’ve seen of the latest batch of kiwi films that have a major story arch of cheating partners. It’s kind of like film makers here think they can only get films made if they get really gritty with their subject matters. Anyway, that alone might give you a clue to what I thought about this film. I kept thinking who was this film for? What market? It had some average acting and some confusing story elements, and every second scene it felt like someone was crying even though they tried to put in a lot of humour as well. It just didn’t know what it wanted to be. For me, the only really good thing about it was some great go-karting action scenes that I thought were shot really well and put together nicely. Also, I felt that’s where the film should have been more focused.  It had a great chance of being a feel good sports movie based around go-karting and has anyone seen anything like that before? No. But have we seen angst-ridden dark kiwi films about family dramas before? All the time!

5.5 out of 10 from me.

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