HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

Rebellious teenager Ricky is placed in a foster home with a middle-aged couple consisting of welcoming Bella and grouchy Hector. A series of unfortunate events results in Ricky and Hector having to survive both the wilderness of the New Zealand bush and each other’s company, and a series of misunderstandings mean they have to forever stay on the run, leading to a national manhunt to track them down.

Hunt For the Wilderpeople is directed by Taika Waititi, who most recently gave us the superlative black comedy What We Do in the Shadows. Being more of a family film it doesn’t have the same undercurrent of darkness as the vampire mockumentary, but it still finds time for several quite emotionally poignant moments amidst its flowing stream of inappropriate humour. Neither does it ignore the dangers inherent in wilderness survival, and several moments highlight how easy it is to become fatally lost within the vast untamed forest, each presented in a (mostly) comical fashion.

Despite Ricky and Hector’s mutual antagonism and constant bickering, a mutual respect gradually grows between the pair, although not in the artificially uplifting way of Hollywood equivalents but more grounded in reality, which is kind of ironic given the comical improbability of much of the rest of the film. It takes a certain kind of twisted mind to successfully write jokes about the accidental implication of child molestation. The humour at times pushes the limits of plausibility, but never so far as to tip over the edge and descend into farce.

The driving force of the film, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison constantly spark off each other, and the latter should also be noted as one of the most engaging child actors to have emerged in recent years. Ricky’s brash confidence is endearing rather than annoying, and with the harsh life he has led up to this point and his attempts to pre-emptively mythologise the gangsta life he thinks he wants for himself, you can truly appreciate what pushed him towards the kind of person he is turning into. Other memorable characters include Ricky’s social services officer Paula whose attempts to present herself with an artificial degree of intensity only highlights how inept she is at her job, and a survivalist nutter who calls himself Psycho Sam and hopes other people will too.

On paper the film might sound like little more than a standard feel-good movie, but the throwaway banality of such a description does a disservice to what a thoroughly entertaining ride it is. Part coming of age tale, part chase movie, part mismatched buddy comedy and part survival thriller – while at the same time not really definable as any of these – Hunt For the Wilderpeople is funny, moving, enthralling and exciting, and impossible to not be drawn into.

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: TAIKA WAITITI / STARRING: SAM NEILL, JULIAN DENNISON, RACHEL HOUSE, RIMA TE WIATA, TIOREORE NGATAI-MELBOURNE, OSCAR KIGHTLEY / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 16TH

Expecting Rating: 7 out of 10

Actual Rating:
  


Suggested Articles:
Blue Jean (Walker) is a former baseball player who has been eking out a living as the owner/propriet
A film that begins with a creepy, dancing Ron Jeremy cameo and ends with the rape of a young woman b
When he’s caught trying to scam his own employers out of a few million dollars, Wall Street hotsho
It’s 1961 and the Space Race is proceeding apace. But NASA has taken a tumble and the Russkies hav
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Movie Reviews

PEELERS 23 February 2017

VOODOO 23 February 2017

A CURE FOR WELLNESS 23 February 2017

KING COBRA [London Film Festival] 22 February 2017

HIDDEN FIGURES 18 February 2017

BLOODRUNNERS 13 February 2017

MY FATHER DIE 13 February 2017

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 09 February 2017

SUN CHOKE 07 February 2017

HAVENHURST 06 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
...