Every once in a while, an artist comes along who never seems to get the attention they deserve. Essie Davis is one of the best actresses whose name you may not know. New Zealand-based Davis brings a refreshing sense of power and strength whenever she appears on screen. Gender doesn’t matter; it is always a pleasure to see her. This week, her latest acting effort hits theaters as she dives into the drama, King Bunny Justice.

King Bunny Justice follows the story of Bunny (Davis), a woman who needs a break. She is homeless after recently being released from prison. We learn early that her time in jail was because she killed her abusive husband in her own defense. She is trying to find her footing and is desperately working in hopes of regaining custody of her two children. However, nothing goes her way. As her life spirals out of control, she soon reaches her mental and physical limits. Thomasin McKenzie, Angus Stevens, Xana Tang and Amelie Barnes co-star in the film. Gaysorn Thavat is directing the film from a screenplay by Sophie Henderson.

Essie Davis laughs in The Justice of Bunny King.

Diving right in, there’s one thing that needs to be said one more time: Essie “freaking out” Davis. Best known to most as the fierce and fabulous Phryne Fisher in The Miss Fisher Murder MysteriesDavis is a million miles from Phryne in this role. However, it works!

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In fact, Davis seems like the perfect choice to play Bunny. She brings her trademark strength and power to the role. On screen, Davis’ personality brings out a sense of pride within Bunny, which is vital for this film to be successful.

King Bunny Justice it is not easy to sit. This film is drenched in realism, from the harsh reality of Bunny’s life to the unyielding bureaucracy represented in the New Zealand government. It doesn’t matter how hard Bunny tries or how many steps she takes; she apparently she is always wrong.

Thomasin McKenzie dreads the next word in The Justice of Bunny King.

The beauty of Davis’ strength in the title role is that it injects a sense of hope into what is ultimately a bleak narrative. In her hands, there is a sense that she may be down, but she is never out of it. Davis’ vitality conveys this story, and as the end credits roll, the audience is left with a sense of optimism. New beginnings are possible.

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Making her feature film debut, director Gayson Thavat is undeterred by this challenging script. While Davis is undoubtedly in the narrative driver’s seat, Thavat creates Bunny’s environment effortlessly.

as mentionedKing Bunny Justice it is based on a challenging realism, which colors the world of the film. This is a harsh reality. The houses are close. A weight hangs over these characters as we see the challenge of simply living their daily lives. Life is not easy.

Thomasin McKenzie comforts Essie Davis in The Justice of Bunny King.

At the same time, these moments suddenly disappear and we are shown a touching joy. There is freedom as Thavat steps back and lets the camera roll. While there is a sense of humanity throughout this movie, it is never stronger than when we see Bunny at work. We also see him as Bunny relaxes with Tonyah (McKenzie). They are in control of their lives for once, and she feels so good.

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King Bunny Justice It’s a master class in acting. Essie Davis continues to establish herself as an acting treasure, and it’s thanks to her uniquely stellar personality that King Bunny Justice it works as well as it does. Ultimately, this would be a completely different movie in the hands of another actor. This complex character study is a challenge. Yet at the same time, it’s a beautiful look at the strength and resilience of humanity. We are capable of hitting the highest highs and the lowest lows, but even at our lowest point, we can bounce back from anything.

King Bunny Justice opens in limited theaters on September 23, 2022. It will be available on September 30 on VOD.

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