What’s it about?
A Māori police officer is torn between his obligation to his community and his duty to his badge when New Zealand police raid an Indigenous community accused of harbouring a domestic terrorist cell.
What did we think?
Peter Linning says: Opening with a title card that states “the views and accuracy of the information contained in this production are not endorsed or supported by the New Zealand police”, the stance of the team behind Muru is apparent from the get-go but manages to avoid veering into overly biased or sensational territory. A lot of the credit for this goes to my main man Cliff Curtis, nailing an emotionally complex role in a grounded and understated way with some nuanced performances from Jay Ryan and Manu Bennett in what could have been paint-by-numbers antagonistic roles providing a pleasant surprise.
The telling of the story has a foot in two worlds, possessing the slick sheen of an action thriller while predominantly being performed in Te Reo Māori and leaning into the region-specific dynamics of the Tūhoe people. This presentation helps Muru pull off the difficult balancing act of feeling specific to New Zealand, while dealing with themes that are sadly universal to indigenous people around the world. Muru squeezes every drop of quality out of a modest budget and short runtime, building a slow and steady pace that does an incredibly effective job of building tension in the back half. This is a big recommend from me, and I’ll definitely be seeing it again.