The Justice of Bunny King Review – Tour de Force Performances Propel Characters

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The Justice of Bunny King, from FilmRise, brings to the screen the story of one woman’s fight against a system built estrange the vulnerable from the rest of society by offering little help and no bridge back.

We meet Bunny King, played by Essie Davis, with the film opens. She is standing on a corner with a squeegee cleaning the windshields as cars pass and stop. She makes a few bucks. Expecting the same spiral of drug abuse for the down on her luck story, the film walks through what appears to be the foundation of that excuse.


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Bunny is brass and outspoken, at this point she is extremely vulnerable, as she is living on slim means, has no support system, and she is forced to defend herself from further injury, which in this case translates to loud, confrontational outbursts when she suspects trouble.

She is unable to find suitable housing for herself and her children, which have been placed in foster care, and lives with her sister, Grace, played by Toni Potter, and brother-in-law, Bevan, played by Erroll Shand, and is at their mercy. With her “situation” as it is her options are extremely limited.

The film still doesn’t mention the reason for her hardships. Her behavior appears bi-polar, although we aren’t expressly told of any mental illnesses. We simply understand her present circumstances. She picks up tossed out items and with no car, is forced to parade down the street, in full view of the world.


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Bunny arranges to fix up the basement so she can be reunited with her children. She walks in and witnesses her brother-in-law sitting in the front seat of the family car, pressed up against her niece, Tonya, played by Thomasin McKenzie, and she understands what she is seeing, and the audiences does also.

This causes Bunny to snap. She breaks the door down, confronts the brother-in-law, and subsequently is kicked out of her living situation and they refuse to return her money. This obviously sets up the final act, as Bunny is determined at any cost to convince the social worker, Ai Ling, played by Xana Tang, that she has found a new job and an apartment.

The social worker, who seems to be of the do-it-yourself school of thought instead of a hand up, not a handout, school of thought, praises Bunny for all the strides not realizing she was sitting in the home of the family home of a good Samaritan.

Of course, she is on the one step forward, twenty steps back track, and after promising her daughter a birthday party, she is determined to see her children, and enjoy an afternoon with them. She believes the system is intentionally placing these brick walls in her path to stop her progress.


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After she finds out her children have been moved to another home, she decides that is the last straw and she is finished with the control and constraints of the social services agencies and nothing will stop her from having this party,

She steals her brother-in-law’s car and picks up her niece, who is running away from home, and the two are headed towards an epic showdown with the authorities.

The Justice of Bunny King exposes everything wrong with the global social services system. The ultimate power and control for those in a position of authority is to zero in on vulnerability, drill down, and expose and exploit. The system fails repeatedly and exposes its own in-triplicate failures.

For whatever reason, budgetary constraints are usually the catch all, the DIY school-of-thought fails repeatedly. Also, opposed discrimination, as we see so clearly in this film, Bunny is forced to the brink, until she has an outburst and then it becomes the litany of mental illnesses.

The ensemble cast delivers authenticate, vibrant, performances.

The Justice of Bunny King opens in select theaters Friday, September 23 and On Demand September 23, 2022. See it.


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Country: New Zealand.

Language: English.

Runtime: 101 minutes.

Director: Gaysorn Thavat.

Producer: Emma Slade.

Writer: Sophie Henderson.

Story By: Gregory David King, Gaysorn Thavat, Sophie Henderson.

Cast: Essie David, Thomasin McKenzie, Bridie Sisson, Toni Potter, Erroll Shand, Angus Stevens, Xana Tang, Tanea Heke.

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