Eagle Vs Shark* Review

Eagle Vs Shark film still


New Zealand’s answer to Napoleon Dynamite.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth – or indie filmmaking, at least. Granted, the big JC may not have been predicting celluloid’s revenge of the nerds while astride his mound, but this offering from New Zealand’s Taika Cohen is confirmation enough that geek-chic’s gone global.

Not to be confused with 'Bear v Shark', a Gillette-sharp satirical novel by McSweeney’s favourite Chris Bachelder, this apparent clash of animals is, in fact, a heart-warming romance between a pair of social misfits – burger flipping Lily (Loren Horsley) and shop patsy Jarrod (Jemaine Clement).

Naturally one thing leads to another and the two outsiders fall for each other while duelling over a Mortal Kombat-esque video game. Cue Kiwi hick comedy and love against the odds. Oh, how kooky!

But mean-spirited mockery this is not. Yes, the characters are played for laughs, yet – and here credit must go to writer-director Cohen for his genuinely tender touch – it avoids tipping over into cruelty. Indeed, the man behind the brilliant 12-minute Two Cars, One Night has announced his glorious escape from the shorts ghetto.

Sure, it may be hard to shake the feeling that Jared Hess and Jon Heder’s Napoleon Dynamite conquered similar territory, but that is not to say that Eagle vs Shark can’t be embraced on its own terms.

This is an adorable, funny and gentle slice of loserville whimsy. Rom-com just went deep into the leftfield, and there’s not a hipster sneer in sight.


Losers fall in love.



A deadpan delight.


In Retrospect

New Zealand’s answer to Napoleon Dynamite.

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