Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 5th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: New Zealand, 2013
Director: Curtis Vowell
Writer: Sophie Henderson
Cast: Sophie Henderson, Stephen Lovatt, Jarod Rawiri, Jahalis Ngamotu, Vinnie Bennett, Tammy Davis
DVD Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: Revolver Entertainment
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: Born into a mixed race family all of her life Tania has struggled with her identity. She is half causation and half Maori, with her desire to be more of the latter. She works the graveyard shift at gas station and during the day she takes care of her ailing mother. Her closest friend is her younger brother Piwakawaka with whom she one day hopes to go to surfers paradise in hopes that once there they can reunite with their estranged father. Will she remain focused on her goal or will fate take her in another direction?
Though there are a few key characters that come in and out of the narrative, this film is ultimately Tania’s story. The other key characters include her younger brother Piwakawaka who gets involved with the wrong people and his life spirals out of control. Another key character is Dean, a district manager for the company that she works for and over the course of the film he forms a romantic relationship with Tania. And the last key character is Rog, he is the manager of the gas station where Tania works at and his relationship with her resembles that of a father and daughter.
And of these three characters the most interesting combination is Tania and Dean, as these moments allow the character to grow beyond the introverted tomboyish persona that is present when she is with everyone else. It is also these moments where the majority of comedy shines through as the bulk of her other interactions with other characters have a more somber tone.
From a production stand point the film does not miss beat. The direction is rock solid, pacing is never an issues and the performances are all very good, especially Sophie Henderson in the role of Tania. She gives an extraordinary performance that effortlessly captures her characters need to be acknowledged as a Maori. Besides acting in this film, she also adapted the screenplay from her one woman stage play. Another performance of note is Stephen Lovatt in the role of Rog, the father figure. Overall Fantail is a very satisfying blend of comedy and melodrama, that saves is most potent moment for its unforgettable finale.
Revolver Entertainment presents Fantail in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its intended ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look strong and details look crisp. There are no issues with compression or edge enhancement and the image remains stable throughout.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise things sounds very good considering that this is a dialog driven film. Also it should be noted that there are a few flashback sequences where the dialog is spoken in Maori and there are no English subtitles for these moments.
This release comes with no extra content, just a static menu that offers two options, play film or chapter selection. Overall Fantail gets a solid audio / video presentation from Revolver Entertainment.