As troubled child Ricky goes missing in the New Zealand bush, a manhunt begins. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the story of boy and his foster father stricken by disaster who ultimately decide life is better off the grid. Dressed for the dank city streets and with a love of Tupac, thirteen year old Ricky is not your usual survivor. Yet when taken on by New Zealand’s most unlikely foster couple, Ricky soon learns he has a place in this world and is reluctant to give it up, not even in the face of the ever persistant child services.
It proved to be a tremendous hit at festivals, and watching this film I can see exactly why. The perfect brand of New Zealand humour that made films such as What we do in the Shadows and the comedy of The Flight of the Conchords so popular excels in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. With fantastic humour throughout and not a minute wasted, the chemistry between Julian Dennison (Ricky) and Sam Neill (Hec) is instantanious and at times is so good that it’s hard to believe it isn’t real. The two main characters are joined by a stellar supporting cast. Kiwi comedy stalwart Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords and What we do in the Shadows) is joined by incredible cameos, often too fleeting who provide well timed and measured skits throughout this film.
The direction is strong and the New Zealand landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for this film. Both a coming of age story and a story of purpose after tragedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is brilliant adaptation of Wild Pork and Watercress. Both sweet and side splitting, this film has definitely proven to be one of my top picks of 2016 and is an absolute must see.
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