Tanna (2016)

Tanna Review

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Tanna Movie Review

Tanna is a 2016 Australian-Vanuatu film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is plotwise typical, yet otherwise a very authentic film.

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Tanna Review

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It is set in the island of Tanna in Vanuatu and it follows a couple who decided to marry for love, but that is not the law of the tribe. It is a real life story as it really happened and that certainly made it more interesting and real. This story is basically a retelling of Romeo and Juliet and sometimes it was quite obvious in its plot points and I wished that it didn’t follow that formula this close, but this still happened in real life and the setting and the characters are so interesting that they helped elevate an otherwise standard material.

Yes, the film is interesting for actually being shot on location and featuring real tribe people and not professional actors. That certainly led to a lot of realism of the film. Although sometimes it was obvious that these weren’t actors, most of the time they did a pretty good, even commendable job for amateurs. The characters are typical, but the actors themselves are beautiful and likable and they definitely carry the movie on their shoulders. Some scenes between them were quite romantic and wonderful.

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Tanna Review

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I loved its setting. Tanna is the name of the movie as it revolves in that island in its entirety and I loved it. The scenery was gorgeous and it was so much fun and very educating watching and following regular activities of the lives of this tribe. That made the film almost like a documentary of sorts.

Of course the highlights are its imagery and its score. The score is so good that it might be one of the year’s best, so fitting in style with its scenery and so memorable and effective. The natural landscapes were put to great use here with the highlights being the use of water and in particular the volcano which lent to the movie’s almost lyrical quality.

Tanna is surely formulaic in its storytelling and to me that is its only real weakness. Yes, the characters aren’t that memorable either, but they serve the story well and are likable, but because the film was so predictable from beginning to end, it certainly robbed it from achieving greater engagement from me personally. Plus the pacing is sometimes problematic.

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Tanna Review

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But in terms of the visuals and realism, it succeeds in spades. I loved its authenticity and rarely do you see movies like this with nations and tribes like this one. I loved that originality and even groundbreaking importance of it which is why I deem the film to be a success overall. It definitely deserved its Academy Award nomination and it was so great that a film like this was honored in that way.

Tanna is definitely predictable and formulaic in its storytelling as it is basically a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but the film is still a success as it deals with people we rarely see on film and having in mind that it was filmed on set brought a lot of realism and authenticity to the picture. I loved its score which was excellent, the film is wonderful at times and its imagery is at times quite artistic and memorable.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 2010s, 2016, Australian, Drama, FILM DECADES, Foreign, MOVIE REVIEWS, Vanuatu and tagged , , , , , .

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