We’re here to help film review

South Pacific Pictures kindly invited me to an advance media screening of the movie “We’re here to help“, which was on Monday night this week.

The movie is based in the true life story of Dave Henderson from Christchurch who fought and survived a five year battle with the IRD.  After he threatened to “kick the fat arse” of an IRD officer who had insulted his girlfriend, his $64,000 refund turned into a $920,000 debt.  It is a classic David vs Goliath battle.

The film is highly enjoyable. They turn the story into a humourous, but with serious undertones, depiction of refusing to back down to bullies.  Little gags like turning up the air conditioning in the IRD building got the audience smiling.

What I really liked was that they didn’t turn the IRD officials into one dimensional “bad” guys.  Yes they were smarmy and lacking empathy, but they genuinely convinced themselves Henderson was dodgy and hence in their own minds justified everything they did to him.

The main characters are all well cast.  Michael Hurst does a good Rodney Hide, even though he doesn’t feature as much as I expected.  Miriama Smith nailed her part as girlfriend Kath Harper and Erik Thompson made Henderson a likeable rogue.

They have some nice features which resonate with anyone who deals with the IRD.  The opening credits are all done by way of filling in IRD forms.  And there is a particularly good section where Henderson tries to locate the IRD problem resolution service and gets bounced from office to office.

Overall it is a very good easy to watch film.  About 80 minutes. The cast all perform their roles well, and the plot moves along at just the right pace.  My biggest criticism would be that they could have handled better the IRD decision to back down.  I would have had a couple of scenes showing the Commissioner reading the full report, being briefed on the latest questions in Parliament, and realising how badly exposed the Department was. It was not quite an anti-climax, but didn’t quite make its dramatic potential.

It wasn’t really an anti IRD film.  They showed some good guys from the IRD also.  It was a film really about bullies, and abuse of power.  At times a sad film as Henderson is bankrupted and his partner leaves him.  And finally a film with a wicked ending as we see the IRD Head Office in Christchurch renamed Henderson House.

Definitely worth going to.

Comments (35)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment