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Jemaine Clement
Loren Horsley
Craig Hall
Joel Tobeck.
Taika Waititi.
Taika Waititi.
Running Time
93 minutes

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Eagle Vs. Shark
Claws vs jaws in this misleadingly titled indie gem

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Lily (Horsley) is a loser. She dreams of nothing in life but attracting the affections of Jarrod (Clement), a fellow loser who’s a regular customer at the fast food restaurant where she works. But Jarrod is having trouble committing, because he’s got revenge on his mind…

Eagle Vs. Shark
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It is often Hollywood rule that geeks are Calvin Klein models with Harry Palmer glasses and mildly unflattering fringes, to be brushed romantically aside at some point in the final reel, thus rendering their inner beauty external. Eagle Vs Shark has no such airbrushed view. The nearest either of its dweeby leads gets to a makeover is pulling on an ill-fitting shell suit and moving their parting a couple of millimetres to the left to denote party time.
Ugly as they may be, writer/director Taika Waititi loves his star-crossed geeks, and it’s this affection that makes the film such an inclusive, delightful experience, free of the sneer that blights the lips of many a movie about the popularity-challenged. His leads might sound like rejects from any number of Napoleon Dynamite wannabes - Lily (Loren Horsley) is a blot at shopping mall fastfoodery Meaty Boy, where she projects her dreams on the Cro-Magnon brow of Jarrod (Jemaine Clement); Jarrod is oblivious to all around him, particularly Lily, as he dedicates his energy to becoming a fighting machine and wreaking vengeance on a childhood bully - but Waititi always keeps his story grounded in character, not caricature.
Lily and Jarrod’s slow realisation that there’s more to life than perfecting your score on Fight Man or nervously chatting yourself up in the mirror might be one most people make aged 14, but adolescent awkwardness still strikes a chord, even if those experiencing it are at least a decade on from their first hormone eruption.
Waititi is of that peculiarly Antipodean school of filmmaking that dictates all visuals must be slightly glum and all characters a little freakish, yet somehow insightful, but he nails his tone. Much of the movie’s charm must also be attributed to Horsley and Clement’s easy rapport. Horsley’s performance is one of quiet comedy brilliance: her cow-eyed earnestness is adorable and her lip-chewing serves as the perfect silent punchline to almost any joke. Clement is an unlovable but hilarious rock throughout, constantly puffing up his own ego only to have it quickly punctured by his pathetic reality. You wouldn’t want to be seen with either of them in public, but they’re a wonderful pair to enjoy in a cinema where nobody can see you.

So quirky that it’s almost in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own antic whimsy at times, but a comic delight destined for cult adoration.

Reviewed by Olly Richards

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Eagle Vs. Shark
Empire Star Rating

A beautiful film

I absolutely loved this film. I found it moving, funny and surprising. It was lovely to see characters who would otherwise have been relegated to the 'quirky friend' sub-plot given top billing and I truly rooted for both of them. Many reviewers have focused on Loren Horsley's performance, which is, I agree, absolutely beautiful; but I think equal praise is due to Jemaine Clement, whose textured and pitch-perfect portrayal of a lead who, by his own admission, is 'too complex' just melted my h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Marianne at 15:48, 24 July 2008 | Report This Post

My mini review:

agle vs. Shark (2007, Taika Waititi) gn=left]The stop motion animations that broke up the scenes were good. A nice distraction.eft]gn=left]It's just not]The failed 'Napoleon Dyamite' tone. It tries to go for the awkward but funny nerd. It fails miserably. The script is so dire it misses out on the essential point of having to root for your]Loren Horsley. Intensely irritating, about as watchable as having your skin scraped off with a rusty spoon is fun. There... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by swordsandsandals at 16:43, 13 June 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Eagle Vs. Shark

This is quirky with a capital Q. I found it to be very funny and touching. The comments about it resembling Napoleon Dynamite is correct as they both moulded from the same type of comedy. The only thing I would find a little uncredible is that all the characters are quirky bar none. However saying that I found that I was laughing more outload with this film than with many minstream so called comedies. The joke about the "smashing him up so he can't walk" was just classic Defin... More

Posted by Achtung Englander at 11:08, 25 February 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Eagle Vs. Shark

I wasn't quite sure where it was really going. It's been a long time since i saw it but i remember feeling distinctly underwhelmed especially with the heavy praise that was being aluded upon it by other reviewers. My troubles, i think, stemmed from the fact that having been in New Zealand recently and having discussed the film with a bunch of Kiwi's even they were referring to it as the 'Kiwi Napolean Dynamite'. There were too few good laughs and an absence of original material could never lift... More

Posted by NickHilton at 18:46, 10 February 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Eagle Vs. Shark

Yeah I though it was an excellent comedy as well. I really quite fancied Loren Horsley and wanted to give Lilly a big hug because the poor thing was so sweet. It does remind you of Napoleon Dynamite but that's no bad thing because NP was a great film, and Eagle vs Shark holds it's own in my opinion.     ... More

Posted by Fluke Skywalker at 10:20, 08 February 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Eagle Vs. Shark

A genuinely funny, genuinely must see movie.  I agree that Loren Horsley was the stand-out. I fell in love with her pinched and pensive Frank Spencer expression.  Her Lily is the perfect counterpoint to the very smackable Jarrod.  A great surrounding cast too.  Great stuff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 20:17, 17 September 2007 | Report This Post

quirks abound

Great performances all round, especially Loren Horsley. A gentle tale of love and revenge from the slightly nerdy side of the fence. Sometimes the humour borders on the uncomfortable but that leaves you not quite knowing what to expect and does keep you engaged. I noted it had lottery funding of some kind (not sure it it was ours or NZs, but a good use of pulic funds if you ask me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 23:47, 20 August 2007 | Report This Post

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