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by Great Lake Film Society

A night of thrills spills and drama unfolds at the Raetihi Amateur Women's Wrestling event.


It's a genuine pleasure when watching this competition that a film comes along with such visual power that you can't help but sit up and take notice, and that is exactly the way I felt watching R.A.W.W. which just oozed confidence and pulsated with life throughout its runtime.

Technically this was insane. I don't care that the team admitted to not handing in their fully mastered film, every beat had severe impact as though watching a sumptuous high octane ballet. Most impressive to me was how you wrangled a crowd of that size to replicate the local hall semi-pro passionate fans that drive grassroots sports in this country. Editing was out of this world and I'm picking the team to pick up that gong at the nationals.

The story for mine was impressive. It's bloody hard to tell something coherent without dialogue, and arguably this might be a film that needs rewatches to fully understand the nuances of switched places, betrayals and the like because it did come across as blink and you miss it at times. But I felt it was clearcut revenge in reverse in the wrestling ring, and without giving anything away perfectly matched the drama of the soap opera that is professional wrestling.

The reason I'm giving the elements a perfect score on my grading system is that this film, for me, was a mic drop moment in relation to the utilisation of the antihero. This is subject matter that lives and dies on heels, faces and turns and it felt like Great Lake Film Society hit the nail on the head here.

Comparisons in reviewing are generally lazy. It would be easy for me to bring up G.L.O.W., or TENET, but this was its own beast. A barrel of fun with clearly defined characters, which was all the more impressive given this was achieved by body language and costuming which is no small feat. The one slight blip for mine was the fake tattoo sleeves which just seemed every so slightly out of place, but fit with the fun colourful tone of the film.

The other thing that I would be scratching my head about a little bit is just how well the film fit the Race Against Time genre. For me, this worked because of rounds in the ring having a timer, stopping being pinned against the count etc, and so I felt that it subveresely ticked the box, but I just wonder if perhaps that could have been slightly more central to the plot? By no means a criticism, I love subversion, just saying that I thought about it is all. Overall though, amazing.

Story: 4/5
Technical: 5/5
Elements: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

One of my favourites this year. I really enjoyed your film and the laugh out loud /mic drop moments. The cinematography is top class and the editing blows my mind. You have put together a really clever and professional film here. I did have to watch it twice to fully get the storyline - not criticism to the strength of the film, just my brain needed a little time to adjust to it going in reverse.
Set production was top notch too. A great film team - well done!

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