Hunt for the Wilderpeople *****



New Zealand/ Director Taika Waititi /102mins

Synopsis: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Writer/director Taika Waititi returns with his fourth feature after his vampire mockumentary ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, with a broad visual comedy based on Barry Crump’s novel ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a troubled city teen is placed into the care of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) an old fashioned outgoing woman who loves the countryside. However her shy unwelcoming husband Hector (Sam Neill) is not to happy with the new addition to the family. When tragedy strikes the authorities insist  the boy goes back into the system. Ricky decides to run out into the wilderness, but Hector catches up with him. Both parties go on the run with the authorities in hot pursuit.

This charming, nostalgic, wacky, offbeat comedy is driven by a hilarious script and fantastic performances by all. The deadpan humour comes thick and fast with the narrative. The twists are well placed and the overall story never drags. 

The look of the film has a very Eighties feel, which is funny as it would not be out of place as a double bill with one of that time periods classic family adventure movies The story is broken down into 11 episodic chapters every time Ricky encounters a new situation. 

What really makes the film work is the overall dynamic between the two protagonists who have great chemistry together. Dennison is a true revelation with accurate comedic timing and likeable screen presence. It is not very often that Neill shows his funny side, so it is a refreshing treat to see this veteran actor in a different genre.

A warm, funny, heartfelt, coming of age, buddy movie  will warm the hardest of hearts.

Reviewed by Paul Logan 



 

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