Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Film Review

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I was a big fan of Taika Waititi’s previous comedy, the horror What We Do in the Shadows, so I was excited to see what the New Zealand writer/director/actor would come up with next and he’s successfully managed another corker.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a rowdy city kid sent to live with a new set of foster parents, Bella and Hector, in the middle of nowhere in the New Zealand bush. However, after the mother dies, her husband Hector (Sam Neill) tells Ricky social services will be rehoming him so Ricky runs away into the bush. He gets lost and Hector goes out to find him, so when child services go to the house, they assume Hector has abducted the child and a national manhunt ensues.

Beyond all else, this is very funny. Ricky is always trying to be ‘gangsta’ and prove he’s hard while Hector is cold and grumpy but he does care about Ricky deep down. They have to cast their differences aside to stay one step ahead of the police and this provides a lot of comedy. This is only Dennison’s third movie and he holds his own against Jurassic Park veteran Neill. Their banter and chemistry is heartwarming and brings a smile to your face.

The script is very smart and the supporting characters are hilarious even with a small amount of screen time including Waititi himself as a preacher, Rhys Darby as Psycho Sam and Rachel House as the lead social worker on the case.

This is just an absolute riot and totally uplifting. It did go on for a touch too long and I was ready for them to be captured but that’s a minor complaint for a film so brilliant, so beautiful aesthetically and successful at making me laugh out loud.

In cinemas Friday 16th September 

SEE MORE: Pics of Sam and Julian at the Hunt for the Wilderpeople premiere

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