Sunday, July 09, 2017

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Add It To Your List of Other Films to Get To

Movie Review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Version: Library borrow

We watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople after hearing Adam Savage (MythBusters) rave about it on a Tested podcast. Having watched it now, there are parts I can just hear him in my mind's eye laughing in surprise over. Like the part where Ricky watches Bella wrestle a wild boar to the ground and kill it barehanded with a knife. Or Psycho Sam appearing out of nowhere covered in wild bushes and Hec reacting with mild irritation. This is a comedy, so don't take its grizzlier side too seriously.

Hunt is a product of New Zealand, a tale of a young teen in the child protective services system given to the care of a couple living the sparse life on the edge of bush country. At first he doesn't want to be there, and half of the foster care couple doesn't want him there, either, but forced to flee into the wild by unfortunate circumstances, the two become a daring duo to save each others' lives. It's full of plot holes the size of an island, but it's good fun punctuated by a good sense of humor, interesting Kiwi dialog, and a decent local cast headed by a gruff Sam Neill playing Hec, the begrudging foster father who would rather just not be bothered. The aimless but means-well young teen Ricky is played by Julian Dennison, who plays his part against the more experienced Neill well. You might also recognize Psycho Sam from a long list of film and TV credits, played by Phys Darby, despite his wild whiskers and brush get-up. Paula, the Childhood Services Officer played by Rachel House, reminds me a lot of the mean and sinister principal in Matilda, although she isn't as good in the role.

There is much to like in his story. It's about a young boy without family who has lost faith in the foster care system and seems to finally have found his place. It's also about a man who feels out of place in society and having found his place just on the edge of the bush, doesn't want to be disturbed. The two have been brought together by Bella then forced closer together by her death and then the interference of the foster care system, which wants to tear them apart. They are pitted against the wilds of nature and the wilder side of humanity, both which now hunt them down. Through the experience, they finally form an unbreakable bond.

I won't recommend you quickly run out and buy or rent this film if you have other important films on your list, but I do suggest you add it to your list of other films to get to. It's fun, and some slow evening when summer TV displeases and the weather isn't co-operating with outdoor plans, watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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