Film Reviews

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An essential counterpoint to ‘Fire and Fury’ by Karl du Fresne – 10 October 2023

“Clearly, something unprecedented was happening out in heartland New Zealand, but where were the mainstream media?”

Karl du Fresne

A film review by Lucas at ARKV – 5 October 2023

“All Kiwis should go and see this film.”
“10 Big Glowing life-giving stars.”

A Random Kiwi Voice

Stuff NZ’s Graeme Tuckett “You don’t have to agree with River Of Freedom. But you might need to see it” – 24 Sept 2023

“It took me a week to get a ticket. The film sold out its Wellington screenings for five straight days. The Thursday afternoon session I got into was also a sell-out.”

Graeme Tuckett, Stuff NZ

A review by Graham Adams

“River of Freedom flows into cinemas. Doco on anti-mandate protests shapes up to be a sleeper hit”, 14 September 2023

“Gaylene Barnes’ River of Freedom documentary is a vivid and atmospheric portrayal of one of the most polarising events in New Zealand’s recent history.”

Graham Adams, The Platform

“River of Freedom, a doco about the Wellington anti-mandate protest”, 11 September 2023

“The documentary strikes an empathetic tone and is packed with emotional testimony from a range of dissident voices.​​” 

NZ News Essentials

Emanual E. Garcia review: Deluge of Truth – a powerful documentary about the 2022 New Zealand protests against mandates, 10 September 2023

“Some sixteen months after the peaceful assembly of people from all areas of our country was brutally invaded and dispersed by henchmen of the political State, an extraordinary documentary film has emerged: River of Freedom.”

Emanual E. Garcia, NewZealandDoc’s Newsletter

BCBNZ Review, 10 September 2023

“This is the essential part of democracy, that media is a two way street where the public have a voice, not just the government – ”

BCBNZ, WordPress Blog

“River of Freedom: A film review” by Dane Giraud, 8 September 2023

“With a 2 and a ½ hour running time, many may be daunted by the prospect, but the film rarely lags. It often doesn’t feel like you are watching a film. You have been parachuted into the middle of the protest and are experiencing it firsthand.”

Dane Giraud, Plain Sight

Sean Plunket reviews the River of Freedom documentary, The Platform, 8 September 2023

 “…there is a movie you should see no matter where you stand on vaxes. If you are a New Zealander, if you are interested in our democracy, you must see River of Freedom.”

Sean Plunket, The Platform

A review by Stephen Franks, Commercial and Constitutional Lawyer, 7 September 2023

“The ruling class had decided to revile, impoverish and ‘other’ the mandate heretics. They promoted majority hostility to the dissidents, to prolong the power they’d enjoyed from fearful group hysteria about COVID.”

Stephen Franks, Twitter post

Mike Bee reviews River of Freedom on opening night, Counterspin Blog, 5 September 2023

“As I walked home alone along wet Auckland streets, I asked myself if any film had moved me so much and stirred me so deeply over a sustained period of time. I really could not think of one.”

Mike Bee, Counterspin Blog

Public comments

It showcased the incredible diversity we have, culturally, ethnically and religiously and how this is a strength to be cherished.

Brucehamilton-15787, IMDb User Review

While most people have seen the ‘mainstream’ talking points about the event, this documentary focuses on the perspectives of the people at the protest.

y-51088, IMDb User Review

A documentary funded by the people, for the people from experienced film makers that will take you on a wild ride. A New Zealand piece of history.

WildAloofRebelNZ, IMDb User Review

We just saw it and drove 1.5 hours to see it in Dargaville. You have told this important story so well. I was tearful through most of it. I want all of Nz to see it. I’m a middle class grandmother. Still a working lawyer. Couldn’t believe I was living in mandate land when it happened. And your story heals and vindicates those hurt by the tyranny we felt in our lives at that time. 

Private message

Powerful movie. Moved and so proud of the people who stood up, an amazing reminder of skills and love coming together.

C Woolley, Facebook Comment

Absolutely awesome 👏🏽 thank you so much for the time & energy put into making this taonga. It brought a lot of memories back, was heartbreaking & heartwarming all at the same time, but also healing ✌🏽💜

l Whitehead, facebook Comment

Loved it. You and the team did a great job. There was a great crowd at the 3pm session at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket today.

j Elkington, facebook Comment

It was amazing and so well filmed and edited. It is a story of such courage but also of such shame.

R Hewetson, Facebook Comment