Film Review: The Justice Of Bunny King Dir: Gaysorn Thavat

Starring Essie Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Ryan O’Kane

What’s the cliché? If you see one film this year…well, for most New Zealanders, The Justice Of Bunny King should be required viewing.

It easy to wring our hands and shake our heads while watching the international news…war, shootings, injustice, chaos…but take a look under the façade that is “normal” Kiwi life and you may also see something that turns your stomach.

That’s exactly what director Gaysorn Thavat and screenwriter Sophie Henderson have done here…revealed the uglier side of life in New Zealand.

Bunny King is a single mum who has lost custody of her children, is unemployed and basically homeless. Bunny, played impeccably by Essie Davis, is staying with her sister and brother-in-law (and niece Tonyah) while attempting to regain access to her kids (a son and a daughter) and get a job and find a place of her own to live so she can be deemed “acceptable”.

It’s clear early on that, while not perfect, Bunny is smart, resourceful and dedicated to her children…but she’s had a bad hand dealt to her along the way.

So, her fellow humans, be they relatives, bureaucrats or strangers sitting in cars (she tries to raise money cleaning car windows) have no problem feeling superior to her and treating her with less than human respect.

We’ve all seen it; some of us are guilty of it.

As Bunny’s situation goes from bad to worse (despite her best efforts), things finally come to a head when it comes time to celebrate her daughter Shannon’s birthday.

There is a car chase, there is an “abduction”, guns are drawn and police are on the way.

It shouldn’t end like this, but we know that it does.

These filmmakers bravely shine a line on some of our most heinous behaviour, not to judge but to change the way we think about those of us who are less fortunate.

I guess my one concern was the lack of any sympathetic male characters, but hey, that may very well be the way the world looks to many people.

Watch The Justice Of Bunny King, then take a look at yourself.

Marty Duda

The Justice Of Bunny King is in cinemas now.