Friday, 10 February 2017

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) review

Hunt for the Wilderpeople got released quite late into 2016 to great reviews from film critics. Even though it starred Sam Neill, this film flew under my personal radar. I didn't have much interest in watching the film, as the trailer didn't really grip me. Then I found out it was directed by Taika Waititi, the brilliant actor/director from the great What We Do in the Shadows. With that information in tow, I watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople when it popped up on Netflix.

The film follows a troubled youth Ricky (Julian Dennison) who has been adopted by Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her rough round the edges husband Hec (Sam Neill). When the unexpected passing of Bella happens, Ricky finds out he won't be able to stay at his new home and runs away into the bush. Hec goes out to find him, but ends up seriously hurting his ankle. After living in the bush for two months while Hec's ankle heals, the cops have started a search, thinking Ricky had been kidnapped by Hec. The two bond while on the run from the law.
This film is charming out the wazoo, with every character having an impact on the story. Bella is only in the film for the start, yet her character is so likeable in the time she is given, it is genuinely sad when she passes away. Julian Dennison is excellent as Ricky, such a likeable little git who gets into trouble but means well. Then Sam Neill as the brooding grumpy Hec is very enjoyable, and the two main characters really work well together. Rhys Darby also pops up as a kooky conspiracy-theorist-psycho Sam to lend a hand to the two outlaws. While the police are out hunting Ricky and Hec, Paula (Rachel House) is also giving chase as the child welfare officer not willing to leave any child behind.

The film is entertaining from start to finish. It's funny in all the right places and makes you care about all the characters. The wacky and interesting characters all bring something to the story, this is definitely one film for all the family. I highly recommend Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Final verdict: 8/10. What are you waiting, for go watch this film now, and if you haven't seen What We Do in the Shadows watch that too. Richee

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