Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Written by: Taika Waititi
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min
Worlds collide as a young rebellious barely-teen, raised on hip-hop and ‘gangsta’ speak, meets an old curmudgeon wilderness man. This is a story that forces these two polar opposites together, and they must learn to cooperate as they evade the authorities.
Often funny, sometimes poignant, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a pleasant way to kill a hundred minutes. It’s well written and directed, and delivers one of the best performances I’ve seen from Sam Neill in a long time. As these two loners become an unlikely family, I was invested in their journey and enjoyed the outcome.
This is a story told in chapters, and each one moves the film in an interesting direction. The kid, Ricky (Julian Dennison) is a touch obnoxious at the beginning (which is justified considering his history) but I was happy to see his character develop quickly. He goes from brat, to funny sidekick in a relatively short period of time and the movie is better for it.
I was pleasantly entertained, but not really moved. I was hoping for more of an emotional connection between the characters, and perhaps more personal growth. Taken as is, this is a decent film but not a memorable one. Another solid piece of work from Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), but not something I ever need to see again.
Expect good performances and a decent script. This isn’t as clever or impactful as Pixar’s Up, nor as funny as, What We Do in the Shadows.
Our heroes find a shelter in the New Zealand bush, but are soon joined by three men looking to cause trouble. A fight breaks out but is quickly stopped by young Ricky as he fires his rifle. As he reloads, he says “this shit just got real!”