"Two Cars, One Night" is a somewhat modern take on the story of Romeo & Juliet in the most unusual circumstances. It runs for 11 minutes and was directed and written by Taika Waititi over 10 years ago. And while none of the actors on here really managed a successful career, at least outside New Zealand, Waititi had his great international breakthrough recently with "What We Do in the Shadows", a somewhat different vampire movie.
However, for his work here he was nominated for an Oscar (and won many other awards all around the globe) and it went in the tradition of the Academy recognizing foreign films in the short film categories. Even if it lost to Andrea Arnold's "Wasp", this is quite an achievement. Sadly, I cannot share the appreciation. I thought this was not a particularly great watch and the child actors did not do a great job either. Also they did not seem likable to me, which they obviously were intended to be. All in all, a forgettable black-and-white film in my opinion. Also, even if an English native speaker, you may need subtitles for this one. Not recommended.
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The director’s breakout short has his raw signature.
Two cars parked in a motel parking lot. It’s black and white, middle of the night. Sounds noirish, no? Not when it’s directed by Taika Waititi.
Back in 2004, Waititi had mainly been doing comedy shows and competing in 48-hour film contests. Then came Two Cars, One Night. It allowed Waititi the perfect (ahem) vehicles for his brand of undercutting comedy, a couple of brash kids, in a quiet, poignant setting. This directly led, after a number of years, to Waititi’s second feature Boy, which went on to become New Zealand’s highest-grossing film (for a while).
It’s got some very sweet (yet hilariously brash) jokes in it, just as kids might accidentally make, and the cinematography is varied enough that you can see the director’s imagination attempting to burst onto a bigger stage. If you loved Thor: Ragnarok, this is where it all began.