Adventure | Comedy | Drama
Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rhys Darby, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley, Toreore Ngatai-Melbourne, Troy Kingi, Cohen Holloway, Stan Walker, Mike Minogue, Hamish Parkinson, Taika Waititi
When a rebellious kid (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle (Sam Neill) go missing in the wild New Zealand bush, it's ordered a national manhunt.
I am new to Taika Waititi's work - yes, this is my first time -, so I had no idea what to expect from this, but since it was highly recommended to me, I was expecting it to be good. I was wrong, "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is not good, it is a lot more.
It is a charming, funny, heartwarming and entertaining adventure story, beautifully written and wonderfully delivered both by the director and the cast.
The film could have been a predictable story about a "damaged" kid who looks up to an older man and that finds in him friendship. Kind of like a live action version of "Up". And it's basically what happens, but the honesty and the realism brought to the story by every and each character really makes the difference.
But it's not all. The films explores several issues such as teen pregnancy and bureaucracy, and it also deals with mourning and loss in a way I've never seen before. And somehow - I suppose that's Waititi's thing - the director managed to make this simple yet complex story so incredibly funny and to balance drama and comedy so beautifully.
And, once again, the credits go to the characters. Well, actually to the writers, Barry Crump, author of the book, and Waititi, who also wrote the screenplay. All characters are funny and quite likable, even the evil social inspector, and especially the two main characters, Ricky, the orphan, and Hec, his foster uncle. But those characters aren't just funny, they also are very interesting, compelling and they have such depth they make the film emotive. Also they all are fed with great dialogue that fits each situation and the film perfectly.
Then there's New Zealand's stunning scenery that makes you appreciate the film even more. And of course the cast. The leads, veteran Sam Neill and young Julian Dennison, are wonderful in their roles, and it's a real pleasure watching them together, and the supporting cast isn't far behind.