In Alison Maclean’s vibrant screen adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s debut novel, a first-year acting student (James Rolleston) channels the real-life experience of his girlfriend’s family into art and sets off a moral minefield.
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As an adaptation it is troubling, relegating as it does the sexual elements of the story to sub-plot status and raising the sole male character to protagonist status.
As an exploration of artistic youths it is troubling authentic. A compelling and messy mash of ideas that co-mingle and expand but never climax. The lack of clarity may bother some, but film as first draft seems somehow fitting given the title.