Inspiring Kiwi doco proves education is the silver bullet
Terrance Wallace was abducted by a local gang. He was forced to his knees, told he was going to die, had a gun put to his head and the trigger was pulled.
The gun failed to fire. The gang tried again, with a different gun. It also wouldn’t fire.
A while later, Wallace won a ballot to attend a better-resourced and managed high school than the one he would otherwise have gone to.
He credits those breaks with making him the man he is today – a successful business leader with an overwhelming gratitude for his own good fortune and drive to give as much back to the community as he can.
Wallace came to New Zealand a few years ago. And, while like every tourist he was struck by the beauty of the place, he also noticed that in New Zealand, just as in the United States, poverty and disempowerment often wear a brown skin.
In The Zone is the story of what Wallace did next, in New Zealand and in Chicago. And it is a little ripper.
If, like me, you believe that access to a great education system truly is the magic bullet for almost all of society’s ills, then you will love this.
And if you don’t get that yet, then this is the film to convince you. I am just amazed that the story of the InZone Project and foundation isn’t world famous in New Zealand yet. It truly deserves to be. he badly needs a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, his parents and his religion (Jehovah’s Witness) forbid such a procedure, as they believe ‘‘the soul is in the blood’’.
With time very much of the essence, Maye decides to take the radical solution of visiting the boy in hospital because she needs to know that ‘‘he has thought this through’’.
That decision alters the course of both their lives.
Adapted by Ian McEwan (Atonement, On Chesil Beach) from his own 2014 novel, The Children Act provides plenty of food for thought and compelling drama.
He and director Richard Eyre do a terrific job of keeping the audience guessing as Maye lets herself be drawn into her latest case more deeply than intended. Children also acts as a terrific portrait of two marriages in crisis – Maye’s own and that of Adam’s parents.
It helps that Eyre and McEwan can also draw on a terrific cast that includes newly minted Dame Emma (The Remains of the Day, Howard’s End) in one of her finest performances, a heart-wrenching Whitehead (whose mother had apparently just died from the same cancer), the always reliable Tucci (Julie and Julia, Spotlight), and a fabulous supporting cast.
At times, it does feel more like a stage play than a feature film, but that’s only because of the intensity of the emotions on display. Likewise, the more measured pacing won’t be for everyone.
However, this is a riposte for anyone who thinks that all the great contemporary British drama can only be found on television.