Hunt For the Wilderpeople

Hunt For the Wilderpeople


Taika Waititi's (Boy) adaptation of Barry Crump's Wild Pork and Watercress. A national manhunt is ordered for rebellious kid Ricky (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle (Sam Neill) who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.... More

"Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky (Julian Dennison) gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata), the cantankerous Uncle Hec (Sam Neill), and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush.

"As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family.

"Equal parts road comedy and coming-of-age drama, director Taika Waititi masterfully weaves lively humor with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. Never short on laughs, this touching story reminds us about the journey that growing up is (at any age) and those who help us along the way." (Sundance Film Festival)Hide

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Flicks Review

On paper, the idea of releasing a film in 2016 about a smartarse kid and his taciturn caregiver on the lam in the New Zealand bush seems foolhardy. Let alone one based on a Barry Crump novel, the author seeming representative of an even more bygone age than when he was still a cultural fixture. After watching a quarter hour or so of dry, low key, Taika Waititi humour - charmingly funny as it may be - amid Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s rural setting, you may be wondering if the pic has more going for it. In four words: it bloody well does.... More

After establishing the film’s characters and their unhurried pace of life, Waititi begins to lean on the accelerator. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself and the rest of the audience being swept up in an unlikely underdog adventure that continues to layer on emotional resonance even as it dials up the hysterics. Yes, this is as funny as you’d expect, and perhaps even more so, with gags all over the scale from conversational quips to outright absurdity.

At Wilderpeople’s core is the ever-strengthening odd couple relationship between Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, born of circumstance, fueled by frustration, yet building a believable bond that the film crucially entices one to invest in. Individually, they’re as strong as they are together, especially when interacting with the supporting oddbods who drift in and out of their orbit, but Waititi still coaxes something special from their pairing.

Yes, the film successfully channels the anarchic anti-establishment New Zealand onscreen outlook of decades past, and references it too, but don’t worry about missing a gag here, location there, even a prominent prop. That won’t detract from a hilarious, heartwarming tale that harnesses script, direction and performances and takes plenty of creative risks on its way to delivering movie magic.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

BY cinemusefilm superstar

Some movies make you wonder why they were made at all. Today’s crowded cinematic space suggests that if you are going to fund a feature film then surely you have a special story you want to share. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) has all the ingredients of a good film, including star drawcard Sam Neill, an extraordinary setting in one of the most beautiful places on earth (New Zealand) and a respected tradition of filmmaking that includes The Piano, Lord of the Rings and An Angel at My Table.... More But labelling Wilderpeople as “comic dynamite” and “pure genius” did not help produce as much as a single laugh in my cinema, although it would have been hard to find an honest label that gives the film any sense of purpose. But New Zealanders love it.

The main plotline consists of a “national manhunt” by bumbling police and reward-hungry bad guys in pursuit of grouchy old Hector (Sam Neill) and likeably obnoxious 11-year old Ricky (Julian Dennison). The weirdly funny Child Welfare Officer wants orphan Ricky back in State care and Hector is regarded as a possible ‘pervert’ so the duo head for the hills. They must deal with wild boar, crazy hermits, hunger, broken limbs and cold, but all of this is grist for the mill as Ricky loves living rough and playing a real gangster on the run. He has never known home or family so Hector is his salvation. Like in most runaway-chase films, the fugitives keep narrowly escaping the law but eventually come to rest and find redemption in each other.

This film would be ‘great family fun’ if you are a Kiwi. For everyone else however, even their closest Aussie cousins, this film is little more than a spectacular tourism advertisement for the rugged landscapes and mountainous lakes and gorges that are scattered across beautiful New Zealand. The cinematography is absolutely delightful and will undoubtedly encourage many to see it for themselves. Without Sam Neill’s capacity for gravitas, grouchiness and gruff sentimentality the film would struggle for audiences, and even with him it’s a niche market only. If you dig hard, some will find a heart-warming tale about family or its emotional variants, but there is little more to this film than a few quirky characters, a romp through the forest chased by silly people, and a script that probably read better as a book.Hide

Everything great you have read about this film, it's all true!
Many much better wordsmiths than I, have written their piece.
A must see!

BY Whitney lister

Excellent movie, lots of laughs, a few tears and very thought provoking. An excellent NZ movie.

BY Skyuni123 wannabe

With the heart of a family comedy and the soul of a Dave Dobbyn song, Taika Waititi's newest outing is a humble, funny, human tale.

BY Red superstar

Not quite the piece of genius people would have you believe.

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The Press Reviews

98% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A pleasing comedy-adventure that pays cheeky homage to key early works from that nation’s first filmic renaissance... Despite the humor, there’s a cornier, more formulaic core here than in the writer-helmer’s prior successes “Boy” and “What We Do in the Shadows”. Full Review

  • A deliciously good time at the movies... familiar but perfectly balanced blend of drama and comedy. Full Review

  • Waititi’s followup to What We Do in the Shadows is more formulaic, but this family comedy does have surprising bite and great, off-kilter performances. Full Review

  • Waititi doesn’t shy away from sadness or alienation, and he revels in the bizarre. His films have a great well of empathy for outsiders, and so it’s fitting that Wilderpeople should take us to the great outdoors... While the plot and some of the characters may be a bit cartoonish, the emotions always feel honest and Waititi is able to get some big laughs thanks to his charming protagonists. Full Review

  • Everything about Hunt for the Wilderpeople charms and delights – especially its preternaturally talented young lead, the charismatic Julian Dennison. Full Review

The Talk
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