Film: Take Me to Pitcairn (2013)

July 9, 2015 | By


TakeMeToPitcairn_poster_sFilm: Excellent

Transfer:  n/a

Extras:  n/a

Label:   n/a

Region:  n/a

Released:   n/a

Genre:  Documentary / Reality

Synopsis: Dry and witty documentary as Julian McDonnell travels to remote Pitcairn Island where Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers settled after grabbing the HMS Bounty from Lt. William Bligh.

Special Features:  n/a




British actor and world’s smallest kite seller Julian McDonnell decided to plan a trip to the island of Pitcairn, known for highly specific attributes: one of the farthest islands from any mainland, the smallest democracy on Earth, an isle whose population itself hovers around 50, and the tiny rock where Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers fled with a handful of Polynesian men and women after the infamous mutiny on the HMS Bounty, back in 1789.

As the historical facts of the world’s most famous ship mutiny goes, Christian and his men booted Lt. William Bligh off the boat, and while the former captain spent 48 days travelling without charts and meager rations to a Dutch colony and survived, Christian & Co. sought out and found a tiny isle way off shipping routes and very tough to find. Moreover, Pitcairn is surrounded by a vicious reef and turbulent waters, ensuring even a dinghy landing was a precarious venture.

Once the settlers made it, they stripped the Bounty of its essentials and burned the boat, guaranteeing no one could ever leave the isle, nor return back to merry England. When a U.S. whaling ship stumbled upon Pitcairn in 1814, they found one survivor from the Bounty, several women, and many children – but no other men, as they either murdered each other or died by accident in the intervening years.

Pitcairn can only be reached by boat, and McDonnell managed to convince the owner of the Southern Star tour boat to allow free passage while other travelers coughed up several thousand to live out their respective dream trips.

The doc’s first half recounts McDonnell’s voyage to the nearest island of Mangareva, where he’s to meet up with the Southern Star and sail for 30+ hours to Pitcairn. Things don’t go exactly as planned, and what followed are some wacky misadventures and blunders before McDonnell and the group finally reach Pitcairn where they visit locations, touch artifacts from the Bounty, and spend time with the inhabitants – descendants of the original mutineers and Polynesians.

To say more would spoil a very dry, British take on travelling to a far corner of the world, but woven into the doc are stills, assorted video footage, and some amusing music and animated segments, of which the latter chronicles the mutiny. (Those sections actually quote dialogue from the 1984 film The Bounty, and one wishes there was a 10 minute animated digest of the film told in the same cut-out animation and chortled dialogue delivery.)

The beauty of this short doc is that everyone who travels to Pitcairn goes because of personal reasons, adding some weight between the often dry comments during moments of oddness and frustration. One also sees the annual burning of Bounty ceremony to mark the settler’s arrival, and while rather lo-fi, it’s still poignant, given the existing community continues to live and deal with tourists when some may well prefer privacy.

The islanders’ privacy is respected by McDonnell – few appear on camera or engage in interviews – but it would’ve been preferable to hear their side of handling travelers from afar, and aspects of life on an extremely isolated island. As McDonnell points out prior to stepping onboard the Southern Star, should the boat get lost at sea, the group would be screwed; and should the boat get smashed off the island’s reef, they’d be stranded.

According to the official film website, Take Me to Pitcairn was touring festivals as late as 2014, but it is viewable on YouTube and Vimeo, with the periodic fadeouts timed for dramatic effect and commercial breaks.

Well worth watching for those curious to see how far one must travel to reach this iconic rock.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB
Vendor Search Links: — —

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

Comments are closed.