When Love Comes
Will they or won't they. Stephen and Mark (Prast and O'Gorman) take their time sorting out their relationship...
dir Garth Maxwell
scr Garth Maxwell, Rex Pilgrim, Peter Wells
with Dean O'Gorman, Simon Prast, Rena Owen, Nancy Brunning, Sophia Hawthorne, Simon Westaway, Meighan Desmond
release UK 6.Jul.01
NZ/99 1h34

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
We get so few Kiwi films here in Britain that you want to celebrate every one that makes the trek halfway around the globe. Yet while this one has some very nice little things going on, it never really works. It's about a 20-ish man named Mark (O'Gorman) who hasn't a clue what he wants to do with his life. His skills at songwriting have linked him with an up-and-coming musical duo (Brunning and Hawthorne), while he lives with the lively, older Stephen (Prast), who obviously has a thing for him. Into this mix comes former pop goddess Katie (Owen), Stephen's best pal from school who's back home in Auckland to find her way in life.

A few twists in the tale bring things further into focus, but much of the story remains artfully vague. This open-handed approach is the film's greatest strength, along with some genuinely good music. Otherwise though, it's all pretty dull and irritating. The cast is very uneven. Owen is the film's greatest asset, and yet her character is somewhat sidelined by the focus on Stephen. And while O'Gorman is quite good, he never makes Mark a strong enough figure to carry the film. Prast is just a bit too broad and obvious, Brunning and Hawthorne drift over the top, and Westaway (as Katie's American boyfriend) is pure cartoon. There are also innumerable holes in the script, which give the dialog the ring of truth (characters referring to things in their past we know nothing about) but leave us out in the cold. And as a director, Maxwell enjoys playing God far too much, with lots of irritating editing and camera work. He shoots himself in the foot more than once, undermining the emotional resonance in a scene by withholding key information. In the end we simply never find enough to grab onto to make the film remotely satisfying. It is intriguing in spots though.
themes, language, drugs, sexual situations cert 18 19.Jun.01

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"Thought it was pretty good. I used to work with Air New Zealand out of LAX, and always loved the people of New Zealand. It felt a little personal to me when the love affair between Stephen and Mark showed so much promise, but was not working. It's one of those things that take me back to a relationship I had with a man in London. So once again, I liked the film and felt it hit me personally. It's a film that puts me back in the place where I was so in love with someone and wanted nothing more that to have that in my life, and still do." --Sean G, Los Angeles 4.Aug.03
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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