Eagle vs. Shark (2007)

written and directed by Taika Cohen
with: Loren Horsley, Jemaine Clement

New Zealand's Eagle vs. Shark is noticeably in the same vein of Napoleon Dynamite. But with some (Wes) Andersionian-like witty humor, aesthetics and psychological analysis of the characters, it ends up being a unique mix of entertainment. It is a comedic romance between two socially inept characters. Lily, an innocent girl who lives with her brother and whose parents are dead, works at a fast food restaurant, plays the guitar timidly, watches documentaries on sharks (who are lonely predators like her) and has a secret crush for Jarrod, a systematic, meticulous, perfectionist, candle maker, collector of childishly creative objects and video game enthusiast with low self-esteem, who seeks his father's approval (who only praises his dead son) and works at a tech shop.

Taika Cohen does a great job when shooting these characters. Most times alienated from the rest of the cast, and when being part of a collective, like Jarrod's favorite animal costume party, the others are as awkward or even more. Jarrod focuses his energies in training to fight his high school nemesis, a Samoan who bullied him. Lily puts all her effort and patience in trying to catch Jarrod's attention and to be with him. Jarrod's mentality and training techniques are absolutely hilarious. Lily's methods to woo him are just too cute and honest.

The movie has wonderful music that sets the mood. It has unexpected animated sequences that would rarely be seen in Hollywood. It has quirky outfits and detailed mise-en-scenes, plus some memorable phrases and absurd geeky humor that won't disappoint.

Rating: 7.5

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