Taika Waititi’s New Movie: A Departure from Indie Roots?


Oscar-winning Māori filmmaker Taika Waititi’s latest film ‘Next Goal Wins’ faces scrutiny as it departs from his indie roots and merges into a Hollywood narrative.

Taika Waititi: Champion of Underdogs

Taika Waititi, the Oscar-winning Māori filmmaker, is known for championing the underdog, portraying stunted geeks, rebellious kids, and even Asgardian deities in his idiosyncratic cinema. He has been defined by his renegade auteur persona.

Transition to Hollywood Narrative

Waititi’s career trajectory has shifted towards the narrative of an artist absorbed by the Hollywood machine, as evident in his latest film ‘Next Goal Wins.’

The Story of ‘Next Goal Wins’

The film is a sports movie about the American Samoa soccer team, once considered the worst in the world. It focuses on their struggle and the arrival of a washed-up Dutch American coach, Thomas Rongen.

Critical Analysis and Issues

The film’s fictional retelling of the true story is criticized for being flattened into pure formula, with the central character’s portrayal falling short. The comedic style feels one-note and at odds with the talents of the lead actor, Michael Fassbender. Despite its attempts to depict positive trans representation, the film fumbles with tired tropes and simplifies complex issues.

Director’s Career and Industry Pressure

Waititi’s career shows the struggle between his smaller passion projects and the demands of big-budget blockbusters and streaming TV shows, potentially suffocating his creativity.


Despite the film’s resonating missteps, it still aims to deliver a relatively straightforward sports drama. However, it raises questions about Waititi’s departure from his indie roots and the impact of industry pressure on his creative vision.