Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi, Te Arepa Kahi
Based on: Barry Crump‘s novel Wild Pork and Watercress
Cast: Sam NeillJulian DennisonRima Te WiataRachel HouseTioreore Ngatai-MelbourneOscar KightleyStan WalkerMike MinogueCohen HollowayRhys DarbyTroy Kingi, Taika Waititi
Seen on: 25.8.2017

Ricky (Julian Dennison) has been moving from foster family to foster family, getting in trouble. As a last resort, he’s being sent to the country to stay with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector (Sam Neill). And to all of their surprise, especially Ricky’s, he starts to feel at home there. That’s when Bella dies very surprisingly. And since she was the driving force behind taking Ricky in, Child Services – in the form of Paula (Rachel House) – decide it would be best to take Ricky away. But Ricky isn’t having it. He runs away. Hector goes after him, and their disappearance kicks off a manhunt that could end very badly.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was pure sugar and has very funny moments. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Since my parents adopted and fostered children, I have a pretty good idea what can happen when you take in a child like that. And usually in films, I’m horrified at how the foster system is portrayed. In this case I thought they really nailed the dynamic between Ricky, Bella and Hector. The way their relationships grow, the tensions and ambivalences that come with the process: it was really well captured.

Generally the movie is peopled with fantastic characters played by an awesome cast. Julian Dennison will hopefully become the star he deserves to be after this performance, Sam Neill is great as the grumpy hunter, Rima Te Wiata was the picture of warmness and Rachel House had me in tears – from laughter. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to see Waititi himself and he knows how to choose his roles.

As much fun as the film is, there were parts that felt too long and could have done with a bit of a faster pace. And some jokes and bits were a little too obvious to provoke the reaction they would have gotten if they had been new.

While Hunt may not become my new favorite film, though, I really enjoyed watching it. There should be more films that are so deliciously off-beat and filled with genuine emotion.

Summarizing: Sweet.

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