Skip to main content

Hunt for the Wilderpeople






2016
Directed By Taika Waititi
Starring: Sam Neill and Julian Dennison 


Hunt for the Wilderpeople effortlessly combines elements of a typical coming-of-age comedy with a fish out of water tale and despite treading on well-traveled ground manages to create something completely original. This film absolutely exists in its own world and while it might draw comparisons to others, those comparisons will only be surface level and in no way speak to the sheer originality of the film.

Weened on Gangster Rap and foster care, Ricky is given what appears to be his last chance at family life in the New Zealand countryside. His caring Aunt Bella makes adjusting to rural living seamless.  When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run. HFW is essentially about a troubled pre-teen and his reluctant guardian discovering what it means to be family. Sam Neill gives an understated, grumpy performance as Hec that absolutely plays to his strengths and Julian Dennison’s Ricky is one of my favorite characters I’ve seen on screen this year. While both actors are given pretty solid dialogue it’s what they do with quite moments, how they react, that elevates this film above your standard quirky indie comedy.

Writer and director Taika Waititi has been attached to the Hunt for the Wilderpeople project since 2005, when executive producer Charlie McClellan hired him to addapt the Barry Crump classic Wild Pork and Watercress into a feature film script. Jumping at the chance, Waititi delivered a script for the ambitious project, which ultimately stayed shelved for years.  But, in 2013, a meeting with the Crump family put the rights for a film version of the book back on the table and rekindled Waititi’s fire for the project.

The film has a laid back approach to the way it views its characters, despite their glaring idiosyncratic ways. Most filmmakers would navel gaze if dealing with such rich behavior but Taika Waititi just allows them to be. Over the top characters are too often judged by the director and in turn they become judged by the audience. I was given 101 minutes in Waititi’s world as a passive observer and about 15 minutes in I remembered, I was watching a movie. I remembered it would be over soon and I was already looking forward to the next time I could watch it.

This has been somewhat of a rough year at the box office and this film comes as a welcome
breath of fresh air.   

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is currently playing in limited release.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…