Utu (1983) - full transcript

In New Zealand in the 1860s the native Maori people fought the British colonials to keep the land guaranteed to them by treaty. The warrior Te Wheke fights for the British until betrayal leads him to seek utu (revenge). The settler Williamson in turn seeks revenge after Te Wheke attacks his homestead. Meanwhile Wiremu, an officer for the British, seems to think that resistance is futile.

Company, right, right!


Left, right, left!


Left, right, left!


You took your time.

We got lost.

Where are we?

It's all right.

This is my country.

We among friends.
Ngai Maramara.

The others are about a day ahead.

Unless they too got lost.

Let's go!

Te Wheke,

these men from the city are spooked by the mist.

Hold your fire! There's only one of them!

We got him.

Did we?

Sword wounds.

A friend of yours?


Not my friend.

My uncle.

Ngai Maramara?


They're our friends.

The Pakeha told us
many things.

I'm on your side!

Wrong color.

Tell the Colonel

I will catch up with him

sooner or later.

I must kill the white man

to avenge what he has done.

The spirits of my people command me.

I can not live this life!

I would rather die.

Everybody quite still please.

Thank you.

Good. Good.

That'll be all.

Excellent. Thank you, Mr. Nicholas.

Well? What do you want?

- Lieutenant James Scott reporting, sir.
- Too late, the war is over. British army's gone home.

My orders, sir.

- The War Office
- Sir, I've been ordered to experiment with some new tactics.

Commando group, sir.
It's a concept I saw in South Africa.

The Boers using it
to repress the natives. Small groups of men surprising the enem...

Yes, well you've a lot to learn about this country.

I was born here, sir.

- Really?
- Yes, sir.

So you're a colonial, Mr. Scott.

A colonial.

The Gospel according to Saint Matthew,

chapter 26,

verses 51 and 52.

"And behold...

"one of them which were with Jesus,

"stretched out his hand and drew his sword,

"and struck the servant
of the high priest,

"and smote off his ear.

"And said Jesus unto him:

"Put up again thy sword into his place.

"For all they that take the sword

"shall perish with the sword."

"All they that take the sword,

"shall perish with the sword."

Even as we are gathered here

the foul messengers of Satan

are at loose in this land.


who goeth about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.

His messengers,

who persist
in their heathen blindness,

these defilers of women.

These murderers,

following false prophets

into the eternal fire of damnation.

Creep about through this land,

amongst its dark places
and secret corners.

A land upon which God

hath lavished with beauty
and all the wealth of nature.

A land indeed

where every prospect can exist.

But let us take heart.

The enemies of God shall
not prosper.

The day of reckoning for all who take up
arms against the servants of the one true God

is never long delayed.

For God Himself has told us

all they that take the sword
shall perish ...

by the sword!

This is the God's house!

I am one of God's children.

Would I give you a loaded gun?

Of course I would.

He who lives by the sword,

shall die by the sword.

God's promise
not his threat.

If we live like rats
in the ferns of the forest floor,

then so shall we die in
the fire that burns them

A fire lit by the White Man's
lust for our land

and fanned by the breath

of Pakeha's words
of God.

Is it the Lord's plan?

Perhaps the vicar

has other masters than God.

What other choice does the Lord
offer a warrior?


Imagine if you aside your swords,

but not too far aside.

Imagine you took up the plow,

took on the guise of farmers, traders,

but were always ready.

Could we put ten thousand warriors
on the streets of Auckland,

for just a few hours?


Be ready.

A present for you!

It's beautiful.

It's yours.

No, come on...

Scared of it?

Should I be?

If the lizard smiles at you,

death is not far away.

He says he's home
in the wilderness

and that he is my protector.

Yes, Willie. See you soon, my friend.

Come on, move along! Hurry up!

Alright, you over there ride with the first wagon.

Stick with the wagon!


Emily, what are you doing?

Jonathan, you shouldn't have your boots on in here.

There's shutters to be closed,
ammunition to be checked, and more...

- You said there's no danger
- There's no danger.

The military panicking,
as usual.

They'd have done better to
lend us two riflemen.

Three times now, we've been
locked up in their bloody stock house.

Three times now we've lost animals.

And it wasn't to no Maori rebels.

Well what if they do come?

And this.

It's beautiful.

It's yours.


I love you.

And I you.

Go on, shut the shutters.

Maybe I should put
a sign at the gate.

"Rebels keep out!"

No, none of you can read.

I can.

Well, not too good.

Shame about the good reverend,
he was sincere enough.

Though I can understand it happening.

He was a fanatic.

He had lost head
well before Te Wheke got to him.

Why are we here?

Are we here to build monuments
to civilization or to tear them down?

Well this one's falling down.

You do your work, woman.

I'll do mine.

If you fix the pantry door,
then I check the supplies.

And if you could fix the water,

then I wouldn't have to slog
across to the confounded pump.

And while you're at it

the railing on the upstairs
balcony needs fixing.


It's him!

Ah, Te Wheke!

And what does the Octopus want from us?

I want your guns and ammunition.

And do you think I'll just give them to you?


Get out of my land, then,
or I'll shoot you down.

He says it's his land!

Pass me another box of cartridges!

What have you done with them?

The shed.

- How many have you got?
- Ten!

-Try to keep their heads down, I'll go and get them!

Bloody hell!

Lord, have mercy.

Hold fire! I'll talk to the white woman.

The one in the shed,

don't let him escape.

Jump, Emily!

They must have been expecting us.


Left, right, left!

Right, right!

It's American. Very new.
A Spencer repeating carbine.

A present, actually. It was given to me
for saving a young boy's life in England.


I dragged him out of a river and
his grateful father turned out to be an Earl.

Just like the Colonel?

Yes, quite.

But no, not actually.

He was nothing like him,
he's quite a decent chap.


It was sent to me in South Africa.

Much coveted weapon.

When the Boers get weapons like this,
then they just haven't got a chance.

With this, one man can defeat ten.

That depends on how far
away those ten men are, sir.

Maori have a strange
sense of humor.

I was over at the Arawa camp the other night.

They were celebrating the fact
that Te Wheke seems to be on the run.


Sitting around the fire, songs,
drinks, telling stories.

The one called Moses, do
you know him?

He told a story which they
all found hilariously funny.

They were consumed with mirth.

It wasn't at all funny.

Quite the opposite.

Well evidently some Maoris
captured a Taranaki village.

And drove out the British.

And in it they found a native barrel of picked pork left behind.

But they also discovered a couple of fresh graves
from which they got the corpses of two Pakeha soldiers.


They diced them, and peeled them,
and put them into the barrel,

and despite the strong strategic
position of the village,

they evacuated so the British
could recapture the pork.

Pork in brine!

What's so funny?


I'll take it.

I think I'll fish downstream a bit

And the fish will be weak with laughter
and in front passed you.

And they'll be easier to catch.

Do count your fishes before they catched.

Is that a Pakeha joke?

Funny sense of humor,
you Pakehas.


Stop her!


Stop that girl! She's got my gun!

It's loaded!

Where are you?

Are you alright?

It's just a graze.

Are you chasing me or not?

I lost my knife.

Mr. Williamson!

So these are the troops that will
humble the mighty Te Wheke.

- He went that way about a week ago.
- We'll get him.

He may be hiding amongst them.

How can you tell
they're not his men?

I can tell.

How can we tell you're not one of them?

You can't.

Don't you worry about us, Mr. Williamson.

We'll get Te Wheke.

Not with that lot you won't, boyo.

Where the hell is he?

Maybe it's easier for Te Wheke to hide from us,
than for us to hide from Te Wheke.

I must say Mr. Scott,
I deplore your maverick approach.

All very novel, perhaps,
but, oh dear.

"Small groups of rangers
surprising the enemy."

- I shudder to think where that might lead us.
- Yes sir, I just tho…

Nevertheless, I have looked into your proposal
with some care, this commando business.

The War Office endorses it,
I dare say it's worth a trial.

Thank you, sir!


I have also, for the record, written to London
to explain that should anything happen to you,

while experimenting with these new tactics,

that would be unfortunate.

But it would be the War Office's entire responsibility,

not mine.

I just thought you should know that.

Thank you, sir!

Not at all, Mr. Scott.

Not at all.

All right you scruffy lots!


Present, arms!



Aren you chasing me or not?

Kura is gone.

So has her family.

They've gone to join Te Wheke.

Does he want them?

Why do we fight, tribe against tribe?

And always Pakeha sides with those
who best advance his cause.

And we still face each other
across battle lines in one hundred years?

Then stop!


Mr. Scott gave me his hat.
Tomorrow he can have it back.

I won't need it anymore.



Is he going too?

Take cover!

Cease fire!

They left!

You were dead right.

It will never stop.

Henare is dead,

and you stuff yourself
with Pakeha potatoes?

Were they harvested from

our confiscated lands?

Or could they be your reward

for exterminating our people?

Eat shit.

Have you read this?

I can't read.

I have no time
for Pakeha trickery

which turns you from the truth!

I'm going to join Te Wheke.

I will kill the Pakeha...


you bastards will be consumed
in a fire of your own making.

Did you hear what he said?

He can't read.

Colonel Elliott.

"Lieutenant James Scott.

“Your recent failure under fire has forced me
to return to our proven tactics.

"The War Office has of course been notified.

“You are removed from active duty
until you are fully recovered.

"Your papers recommending your promotion
are to be held until further notice.

"I shall personally take command
in the field and ..."

Anything else?

Where are you going, friend?

To Te Wheke.

What makes you think
Te Wheke wants you?

That's the second time I've shot that man,

and he still lives.

It doesn't matter if you knew or not,

he followed you, you led him.

They already have too many.

We've become too easy to find.

The Pakeha can drag his army
through these mountains

I would rather my army stayed out there,


Something wicked this way comes.

Do you like our new headquarters?
Built some years ago by Te Wheke himself.

From here we could range the whole district.

We've captured or killed
quite a few of his sympathizers.

How can you tell
which ones are sympathizers?

That's simple.

They're the brown ones lying on the ground,
they're not moving, and they've got the flies around them.

I have a task for you,
nothing too strenuous.

Got a prisoner upstairs.

Very dangerous.

Shot two of our men during
a sneak raid on the armory.

Due for trial and execution in the morning.

Do you suppose you might contrive
to keep awake for 4 or 5 hours?

You can handle a gun, I take it?

Yes, sir.

Good lad.

Your prisoner.


duty calls.

We leave you, sir,
to the call of yours.

Stiff upper lip, Scott.
Don't drop off now.


Get the men together,
I want to leave as soon as possible.

So I'm to spend the last
night of my life with you?

It could be worse.

Could it?

- Don't you like me.
- Yes, of course I do.

Don't you find me attractive?

That's good.

I used to play here when I was small.

Think of all the things we could get up to.

I could try to escape, would fight.
ButI'm strong, and you're still hurt from your wound.

And I'd go for that.
Biting and punching you.

So there's a good chance I'd get past you.

You'd have to shoot me.

In the back.

Why don't you just let me go.

I don't want to die, Mr. Scott.

I don't want
you to die either.

You don't?

That's that, then.



Stop Kura!

Or I'll shoot you dead!

It's not much of a threat, you understand.

I'm going to die anyway.

I have no choice.

Look, if I don't let you go, they'll kill you.

Amongst other things.

And if I do let you go,
then I stand to lose everything.

My commission, my career...
I'll be finished!

What's the bucket for?

The bucket?

Ah, the bucket...

Oh, the prisoners use it.

It's for…

calls of nature.

Calls of nature?

We could make love.

And then,

you could let me go.

Or shoot me.

Or come with me.

What do you say?

It's tempting.

I could be your slave,
doing whatever you wanted to,

until you get bored of me.

No hurry.

What's wrong?

How did you say it?

The cry of nature?

Ah, the bucket!

Oh yes, of course!

Excuse me.

This is a terrible business, this war.

We all find our sympathies confused.

I mean,

look at the situation I'm in now.

They'll be back soon.
In fact, they're somewhere down there now.

What am I to do?

All right.

I'll do it.

I'll go with you.

What do you say?


Hello, Mr. Scott.


I hear you've been letting prisoners escape?
That's no way to make it to Captain.

I think my ambition
escaped with the prisoner.

Now I am part
of Napoleon's retreat.

The Colonel is worried, sir.

Te Wheke's mana is growing.

If he should win a major victory,
then those who were thought to be defeated in the war

may well rise again to drive
the Pakehas back into the sea.

Elliott believes that?


How can he?

Because I told him so.

Which side are you on, Wiremu?

The same side as you, sir.
I was born here too.

There are hundreds of them.

We must have them worried.

That's one way of looking at it.

They're heading north.

They march to Te Puna.

The Colonel will want a bath.




Captain Rogers!

Ah Rogers, you can move your men on into the valley,
I shall set up headquarters here at Te Puna.

I shall join you, if necessary,
when the rest of our forces arrive.

You and your commandos, Mr. Scott,
will stay here with me on picket duty,

If that's what you want, sir.

I hardly think you need
question my tactics, Lieutenant.

With luck,

we should arrive in good time to
pick up the pieces of Lance Corporal Te Wheke.


This is
Captain Stuart's detachment.

Who on earth is that in front?

Williamson, sir.

With some idiotic weapon.

Evidently, he's quite mad.

So it seems. Make sure he doesn't
get in the way, Mr. Scott.

- James!
- Sir?

Lay out my uniform for dinner
and prime my bath.

Government troops, hundreds of them.

Aye, it's a big fat army down there,
but you know? It's such a small head.

Morning, Colonel!

Such a small head...

Your neck is safe
until tomorrow, Colonel.

Then their big fat army
will run around with it's head chopped off.

Hello you two!

Nice to see you on such a fine day!

Hey, what's that?

It's a Maori!

Hey! Fellas seen Te Wheke?

- Why?
- Cause he's right behind you.

Hold it!

I am a Pakeha.

Is that so?


You just remember what you are
when you lead the attack on that hotel.

Might have been a Pakeha for one minute
and already hate you Maori.

Strange, Mr. Scott, that you, a specialist
in tactics, should play such an indifferent game.

Whereas Wiremu here,
an aboriginal native of Aotearoa,

plays rather...



It's a world war.

You speak French?

Haven't been to France, have you?

I speak English,
I've never been to England.


Mr. Scott?

No thank you, sir.

Yes, I know.

Still, we should have something decent to drink
when the supply wagon arrives.

Your finger is in my glass.

Your finger is in my glass!

Get out!

Wait for me upstairs!

Pity! You were doing so well.

Mate in three, sir.

It doesn't matter how long it takes
us to get into position,

but once the men on the wagon
blow that front door open,

we move!

Everyone together!

The explosion is the signal.

Once inside...


Burn them wood.

Don't do that!
Go to bed.

I have no bed.

Go sleep in a butcher's shop,
on the sawdust.

He's not there!


Te Wheke.

Who is it?


Sorry, no one's allowed in after half past nine.

I have to see the Colonel, urgently!

Come on now!

Alright, alright.

- Bugger, who is it?
- Williamson!

What in hell's name do you want?

Te Wheke!


He's out there!

- Where?
- Out there!

- Fart off, Williamson, for God's sake.
- I can smell him.

That's quite possibly.

Call me when you actually
see him, all right?

Confounded lunatic!

Get up.

How'd you get in?

Same way as you're leaving. Move!

I can see your bum.

What are you doing?

Taking my jacket off.

Hurry! Time to get going!

They're waiting for us!

What's that?

Push off.

Over there!

And there!

The manuka.

Manuka ...

And there.

You are crazy.

Push off.


Who's there?


I've seen Te Wheke.

- What?
- I've seen him!

I don't like that madman.

Mr. Elliott! I've sen him!

- What?
- I've seenTe Wheke's men!

Hurry up man!

Let me in and I'll show you!

I've seen him!

- Are you sure?
- It's him I tell you, out there.

I saw the manuka bushes moving.



It's Te Wheke.

That scrub were there yesterday
and it's not manuka, it's matagouri.

Matagouri, are you sure?

Go on, just go to bed will you.

Doesn't matagouri have spikes?

The madman thinks he's seen us.

- There is no matagouri on the north island.
- It's all right. It's nothing. You can go back to bed.

And don't you let him in again.

What's that, then?

The supply wagon.

- It's late!
- Go to bed, Williamson!

I have to go back soon.

Before it gets light.

But didn't you say your gun
can fire seven times without stopping?

That's true.

You're late!

They don't look too well,
those poor lads.

You are here!


You knew!

Yes, I knew.

Of course, I knew.

Around to the back!

We must get inside or we're finished!

They seem to be everywhere!

We've walked into a trap!

They knew we were coming!

Run for it! Run for it!

So, he would catch up
with me sooner or later.

Well he did,

and I beat him.

Smashed him!

Sent him away with his
tail between the legs,

this Lance Corporal Te Wheke,



with my full force,

I shall pursue him relentlessly
and crush him.

And any other rebellious brown bastard!

- Stop it!
- Silence!

There are men torn,
bleeding, dying out there.

There will be more
if you don't stop it now.

You have the power
to finish it.

You're mad.

Sometimes I'm mad.

By tomorrow night
he'll be in the heart of the mountain country.

- We'll never find him.
- He's finished.

But he still lives.

Somebody has to do it.

Aye, sometimes I'm mad.

Sometimes I'm not.

Get the men ready!

We have to go as far as possible
before dark!

Take everything with you!

Are you coming with us

or do you have to bury yourself too?

Is this your plan for us?

All right men, we're on foot from here on.

James, take care of the horse, will you.

Come on, get a move on!

A grave.

They're half a day ahead.

I was only trying to save your life,
I owe it to you!

What is it?

Nothing, I...

Must be the mist...

- Smoke?
- Maybe.

Te Wheke.

Too careless.

He be counting on the
main party instead of us, sir.

They're about two days behind,
and we've made good time.

So he'd feel safe enough.

About 8 hours up the valley.

Manaaki. I know the place.

And what chance do you
suppose we have of getting any closer?

If we move slowly and carefully,
before sunset, sir.

That'll do nicely.

Break camp!

Up there, sir.

- That's impossible!
- Really ragged.

With women,
children, wounded?

You know a better way, sir?

Ready, sir.

How the hell did he get here?

The dogs can't hear him, and surely they can smell him.

We're downwind.

Then they'll smell Elliott's perfume.


No, Scott. Shh!

Te Wheke!

Not yet.

Elliott is to the south.
When he attacks, they'll turn their backs.

And we surprise them.

And they'll escape across
the creek over there somewhere.

We only want one of them.

Get them!

Keep down old girl.

Keep down.

Has fate decided
his time has come?



What was that?

I said they just got Elliott.

It's getting dark!

The night will hide us!

Fall back!

They're running!

After them!


Kura is here?

Where's Te Wheke?


I'm gonna chop this bastard in half!


Mr. Scott said no.

Is Kura here?

Where is she?

This court finds you,
Manatiki Te Wheke,

guilty on the following counts.


The murder of the Reverend Johns
at Opoho on 17th January 1870.

Murder of Emily Williamson
at Williamstown on 23rd January 1870.

Organization and participation
in the raid on Te Puna,

resulting in the death of two
British soldiers and three civilians.

Murder of a British officer,
Colonel Elliott.

There are many other charges
which could be brought.

These, however, are sufficient.

I therefore sentence you to be
executed by firing squad,

on this evening,

27th August 1870.

May the Lord
have mercy on your soul.

Can the prisoner speak English?

Who is this Lord
who will have mercy on me?

Is it a God who presides over this court?

I thought this court

was presided over

by a fat German woman

on distant shores.

And whose interest,

does this court represent?

Not mine.

Not yours either.

No way.

Of course I'm guilty,

I am.

But I feel no guilt.

I felt more guilty

when I fought for the Crown.

I took up arms
against the Pakeha

because I could no longer believe
in Pakeha justice.


shoot me.

But don't talk of justice
or mercy, because it's not here.

He sings...

like a bird.

He speaks

with big words,

but he acts like a dog!

You don't need a firing squad to
shoot a dog, it only takes one bullet.

This is a military court of law.

I have watched this man
murder my cousin.

I have seen him beat my niece to death.

I have seen you destroy my family.

For you, this is a court of military law.

For me,

it is blood for blood.


Would you like to be my executioner?

Who else?

Who else, indeed?

This is a military court of law,
you are...

Drop your weapons
or I'll blow the Lieutenant's head off!

Took up the musket

to answer the death of your family,
the destruction of your home.

Me too!

My wife's murderer sits before me.

So I must...

kill him.

If I don't kill him

I'm fear this military court will burble all night
until I let you go.

It likely will.

Another time, maybe, my friend.

Enough of this!

I am the senior officer here.

Where is she?

They knew we were coming!

You told them!

You told them!

I am without prejudice.

I'll shoot him myself.


You would pay off this account with
Te Wheke with a bullet in his head?

And then, what?

What are you counting on?

You are just a woman.

From a different tribe.

For you to settle this affair
is to create new conflict.

And you, who claim Utu
for the death of your wife,

yet it was you who refused
military protection.

And what is Te Wheke's life worth?

He has been condemned,
he will die anyway.

That is why you can't shoot him.

And you, sir,
you say you are without prejudice.

Yet this man has twice wounded you.
Does this not color your opinion?


I think Pakehas have killed enough Maori,

and Maori, have killed enough Pakeha.

I am a Corporal in the militia.

I have standing in this court.

And my mana is of this earth.

Just like Te Wheke.

I have no desire for Utu,
no ledger to balance.

I am without prejudice.

My name...

is Wiremu...


Te Wheke.

This is my brother.

Look at this gun

made in America.

This gun was gifted to this officer
by a high-born Pakeha,

as a reward for saving the life of his son.

If I squeeze the trigger

a lightning flash will render the heavens asunder
and the very earth will shake beneath your feet!

When this gun fires

its reverberations will be felt
in the most distant heavens.

This weapon is imbued with the spirit

and there's no greater gun in existence.


Take hold of it.


And who is this man,

that each time I shoot him,

he still lives?

When you get to heaven

prepare a place for me.

Do you think they'll approve of me?

Of course they will.

You have earned your place there.


Utu Redux is dedicated to the memory
of David Carson-Parker and Mike Hopkins

Subtitles: Eric Leblanc

Subtitle: HIVENTY