The Justice of Bunny King

Director Gaysorn Thavat / 2021 / New Zealand

Viewer advice: Contains themes of domestic violence

Essie Davis is incandescent as a squeegee-wielding mama bear who won’t stop fighting for those she loves – even if it ruins her own life.

Bunny King defended her children from her predator husband, but ended up losing them to the care system. Freshly out of jail and struggling to get back on her feet, she’s crashing on her sister’s couch and washing car windscreens at traffic lights. Feeling stuck and disempowered, Bunny decides to take matters into her own hands, despite knowing that she risks losing everything in doing so.

Davis (Nitram, MIFF 2021; Babyteeth; The Babadook) dives full-tilt into the title role as a rough diamond with plenty of cutting edges, while Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, MIFF 2018) offers a subdued but no less captivating counterpoint as the suburban vigilante’s niece-turned-sidekick. Making her feature debut, director Gaysorn Thavat developed the story with Sophie Henderson (Fantail, MIFF 2014; Baby Done) and, together, they’ve pulled off a brilliant cinematic balancing act: an engrossing, sympathetic study of an essentially good person who makes infuriatingly self-sabotaging life choices.

“Electrifying … A vivid portrait of a woman trapped by a tragic combination of circumstances, injustices, and bad instincts.” – The Playlist

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