They truly made the 2000’s a prime time for Kiwi music. And this wasn’t just ANY Kiwi Music. It was Kiwi Hip-Hop. I think we all remember wanting the jackets, the shirts AND the albums, especially when the Boost Mobile Tour was happening! (Wow, remember Boost Mobile??)
But as are all good things, what must go up, must come down.
And this is what Director Oscar Kightley hoped to catch in his documentary on the beloved labels rise and fall…and rise again. Of course we see founders Danny “Brotha D” Leaosavai’i and Andy Murnane lead the charge on this journey we are about to take. And in many ways, the only way it could be told is in the authentic South Auckland voice they have. Entertaining and sincere, dripping with a sense of complete surprise in the endeavour they took on, it stories 2 men and their navigation and hunger for success in a world which threatens to swallow them whole.
Of course, they never show that this ‘threat’ ever frightened them. They simply took things on the chin, senselessly but sensibly chasing the next high as they helped create one of the most memorable scenes in New Zealand music. Kightley does an incredible job of reining in each chapter of the story, introducing parts of Dawn Raid and others as they become involved with the overall narrative. Animated sequences pop up, giving life to past tales, while archival footage breathes air into years gone by. All the while, it’s followed like a chaser, by a group of people who believed in, and were in disbelief of, the story itself.
Wonderfully shot and filled with their soundtrack which resonates through time, Dawn Raid is a sensational start to 2021 in Kiwi cinema. Not only because it celebrates a lauded time in Kiwi music, nor the sheer force of 2 young men who believed in what they were doing, but because we believed it too. And I think that belief leads us back to those markets where they started out, and handed them that money for a shirt which humbly implied “I can’t wait to see what you do next”.
Because after watching Dawn Raid, I find myself asking the same thing again.
From Otara Market to the world, Dawn Raid is a nostalgic and delightful journey through a period of New Zealand music which saw something insurmountable, traversed once more by a small country in the Pacific.
Beautifully told, funny and humbling, Dawn Raid is a great way to start your 2021 at the movies.