River Queen review

Arriving in the UK two whole years after its debut in its native New Zealand, Vincent Ward's troubled epic emerges as a noble failure whose moments of striking beauty can't disguise the knock-on effects of its fraught production. Samantha Morton plays a young Irish mother in 19th-century Kiwi-land who, having been knocked up by a Maori boy, finds herself caught between the British colonials and a local tribe determined to raise her son as one of their own. Can raddled soldier Kiefer Sutherland assist her in her quest? Given Ward was replaced by his DoP midway through a shoot plagued by terrible weather and other calamities, it's no wonder the result feels unfocused and incomplete. For all that, there's a Malick-like majesty to the whole misbegotten enterprise that can't be ignored.

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