Starring: Ray Winstone, Temuera Morrison and Mark Mitchinson
Directed by: Ian Sharp
A South African farmer has just arrived in New Zealand following the Boer War. He comes with quite a fierce reputation and is hired by the British to track down a Maori man on the run accused of killing a soldier.
Ray Winstone playing a South African just sounded like it was going to be a disaster to me. I haven’t seen many movies with him attempting any accents other than his own but when he has tried they’ve been quite mediocre and tend to be very inconsistent. Thankfully, he was able to do a very good job with his rough Afrikaner accent and while there were a few moments where it sounded like he had lost it, for the most part it remained of a good quality and most importantly he was consistent. I feel Winstone’s general rough appearance combined with his deep and intimidating voice worked in his favour as he plays South African farmer turned soldier on the Boer War Arjan Van Diemen. He’s had to deal with a lot of personal loss in recent years which makes him extremely dangerous as he no longer has nothing to lose and Ray Winstone was a great choice at playing this type of character. His co-star Temuera Morrison is another actor that was really well cast as he plays a Maori sailor who has returned to his homeland after his family had been beaten by the British decades earlier. I first came across Temuera Morrison earlier on in the year when I saw him in Once Were Warriors which was absolutely fantastic and he was great and once again he was superb in his role as he is on the run after being falsely accused of murder so must try and cover his tracks as he’s being chased down by Van Diemen.
While the story was quite drawn out, the cat and mouse style Chase was really gripping and quite interesting to watch as Van Diemen uses his expertise to accurately track down the Maori sailor who must survive in the New Zealand forrest as well as making sure he’s not leaving behind any clues of which direction he’s taking. The scenery and the cinematography in this film was absolutely breathtaking as the mountainous landscape is fully utilised and exploited by the crew in order to make this movie as visually stimulating as they could. The mountains, waterfalls, rivers and the wooded areas were just simple exquisite and I really can’t praise this movie enough for its visuals.
Where Tracker slightly let itself down was with its choice in supporting actors as outside of the two lead actors, Winstone and Morrison, the rest of the actors were a little lack lustre as they failed to equal the quality of the two actors mentioned. Also, the ending seemed to happen very quickly and I felt with all the tension that was built up and the relationship that developed between the two lead characters was a little wasted. While I’d say the ending wasn’t disappointing in terms of outcome, I would say that it just ended quite abruptly which could’ve done with a better build up.
Overall, Tracker was a solid movie and kept me entertained throughout. This film really took advantage of its filming location and did a good job at building tension but let itself down with a hurried ending.