Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
A timeless classic bridging generations with laughter.
Starring Sam Neil as Hec and Julian Dennison (Ricky Baker) as an unlikely duo, the pair take you on a whirlwind adventure of highs and lows, transitioning seamlessly from tragedy to hilarity.
The film, the highest grossing local film in New Zealand history, travels through beautiful lush New Zealand bush while telling the unfortunate yet hilarious tale of a rugged old farmer and his unwanted, misunderstood yet adorable foster child, Ricky.
The pair take to the bush following a tragic event in order to avoid Ricky’s impending return to state care. Ricky, an overweight Maori boy from the city and wildly out of place in his shiny white kicks, leopard print baseball cap and colourful hoody, takes to farm life like a fish out of water. It’s Hec’s reluctance to accept Ricky that drives the pair to the bush with another twist, and leaves them with little choice but to accept life as outlaws in surrounds described by Hec (Neil) as “majestical.”
The humour has a distinct kiwi taste with references to popular pop culture hits such as Barry Crump (the writer whose book they adapted), Dave Dobbyn, Rhys Darby, and Taika Waititi, the director himself making a hilarious cameo as a priest.
Taika takes us on a journey of transformation. We see two characters who in a sane world might never have met, but through a stroke of comical genius, their two worlds collide to bring out the best and worst in each other, summed up in one very special quote as they walk off into the distance “we didn’t choose the skux life, the skux life chose us.” This is made even more poignant as it is Neil saying this after being so perplexed by the word ‘skux,’ which simply means cool in gangster terms, earlier in the film.
Having seen this twice already, I was just as taken by the stunning vistas as I was by the comical charm of Dennison. I give this five out of five stars.
Check out the trailer:
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now showing in cinemas.