“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a sweet, sad, funny, drama and comedy small ‘art’ picture that takes the standard odd couple and fish out water stories and stands both on their heads. The odd couple is a 13 year old city foster child Ricky (played by Julian Dennison) and asixtysomething old country geezer Hec (played by Sam Neill) who is married to Bella (Rima TeWiata) a Mother Earth who you just know will forgive anything Ricky might or might not do. When he decides to run away and falls asleep not too far away Bella tells him to come in for breakfast before he continues on his journey.

The film starts off with social worker from Child Welfare Paula (Rachel House) accompanied by a not too swift policeman Andy (Oscar Kightly) dropping Ricky off at the home of Hec and Bella. I don’t want to give away anything as there is a lot of joy as we see/hear the interaction between the characters but one example of where drama and comedy intersect is when Bella shows sheer joy bringing a boar down and Ricky looking in horror. By the way there are a few close your eyes scenes as how people live off the land is shown.

Julian Dennison as Ricky, the fat—yes it is okay to say that—see the picture!—foster kid couldn’t have been cast by anyone better. I wish Rima TeWiata had more to do and Sam Neill is perfect as the curmudgeon who has a soft spot in his heart for his wife. Aside from real to life performances of people in the area Rhys Darby as a believable ‘nut’ job with a aluminum hat and can be a tree is no stranger than anyone else in the film.

I did have a problem getting in sync with the New Zealand accent (sorry Mal, Steve and Karen), where the film was made, for the first half hour but the actors were so good following the story was easy.

Director Taika Waititi does a perfect balance between all the emotions without playing the audience. His chase scene near the end is unlike most you have seen. The photography by LachlanMilne of the New Zealand bush is at times breathtaking including a falls scene that I would love to jump into and get to the lake at the bottom.

The people in this film are all delightful, even the villains, and not a minute of the 101 running minutes will let you down.

Movie trailer


Posted July 15, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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