Film: Three Wise Cousins
Director: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa aka S.Q.S
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As Three Wise Cousins opens up in Hastings, Dunedin, and Palmerston North from today I figured I should write a review about the film. Not because I’m Samoan, or because it’s what everyone’s talking about, but because it’s good. Despite only being shown at a handful of cinemas across New Zealand the self-funded, grassroots, comedy has grossed about US$200,000 in the last two weeks.
And it’s about to head over across the ditch to Australia, with a Samoan premiere also set for the end of February.
The film has an engaging storyline, offers plenty of laughs, the characters are memorable, and there’s a universal message behind it that doesn’t just apply to Samoans or Pacific Islanders.
It follows a young New Zealand-born Samoan Adam (Neil Amituanai) as he heads to the motherland in an attempt to impress his crush Mary (Gloria Ofa Blake), who only likes “real” island guys.
In Samoa, Adam’s two cousins Mose and Tavita, played by actors with very little acting experience Vito Vito and Fesui Villiamu, put him through a Samoan boot camp. Under their tutelage Adam is seen trying to climb coconut trees, work the plantation and do all sorts of fe’aus (chores) Mose and Tavita do on a daily basis.
Adam has a bit of a culture shock, in more ways than one, but the lessons learnt don’t just apply to young NZ-born Samoans in the crowd, and should resonate with any young person in the audience.
Sure a couple of jokes will be a bit hit and miss, especially ones that may not have gotten any subtitles, but context will help those who can’t speak a word of Samoan out immensely.
The humour comes not just from a witty script but the way the actors seem to bounce well off of each other. The way certain scenes are juxtaposed and the revelations they bring with it are also hilarious.
However the film is not without touching moments that will, or should, make you appreciative of what you have, and perhaps want to do more for your family. Especially if Adam’s character resonates with you.
The film is cleverly shot, showcasing a beautiful Samoa and a slick-looking Auckland, but a few jump-cuts and panning shots could make you a bit dizzy. You’ve been warned.
Nevertheless this whirlwind of a comedy is set to entertain crowds for years to come. We give it FOUR and a HALF out of FIVE Silent (well, loud) LOLS.
Check out the trailer, but be warned it doesn’t do the film any justice:
Locations you can catch it at below: