The Ground We Won Review

The world premiere of The Ground We Won took place at The Civic Theatre for NZIFF Autumn Events.

This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows the antics of rural Reporoa’s rugby team, and the men that live for that Saturday game.

This hard working dairy community opened up the lives of their men to give us a modern day tale of male bonding, rugby and country life.

The film focuses on three main characters; Peanut,17, who’s on the hunt for love and trying to prove himself as a boxer. Broomy, the good looking team captain and alpha of the group, and father of two Thomas who also coaches the local kids team.

We begin the film at the start of the Rugby season. Things haven’t been good, but 2013 will turn out to be a better year for the team. Throughout the journey, we see Peanut flirt with the ladies, Broomy dishing out some world class banter, and Thomas living modern fatherhood with lots of humour and lots of Rugby!

The guys travel and party in their team bus, drinking, ribbing each other and, of course, raucous singing is inevitable.

The backdrop to the team shenanigans is their dairy farming life which include, sometimes intoxicated, late night calf deliveries and hungover early morning herding.

The film is shot is black and white with a sedate soundtrack, while the camera goes from emphasising beautiful scenery one minute to drunken debauchery the next. They have chosen to mostly exclude the women’s role or reactions here so expect 100% testosterone. The filmmakers Miriam Smith and Christopher Pryor have created and honest and unsanitised telling of a very male Kiwi institution, with characters you’ll feel great affection for by the closing credits.

A film about men and their sport would not normally fall into my wish list, however it was comforting to see an up close and personal look at what bonds these guys and keeps them coming back season after season.

The Ground We Won gives you a great big Kiwi man hug so I hope these guys don’t hang up their boots just yet.

Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar

The Ground We Won will be released nationwide from 7 May.

4 stars -