When troubled teen Ricky Baker is taken in by Bella and taciturn husband Hec, things start to look up for him and them, till Bella dies suddenly and nightmarish Child Welfare lady Paula – motto: “No child left behind” – decides she’s taking him away from the first real home and family he’s ever had and back into the system instead. Of course, Ricky’s not having this, he and Hec end up on the run in the bush and…. anything else would be telling, but trust me, it’s tremendous.
More an eccentric comedy fairytale than a realistic social drama, New Zealand Writer/director Taika “What We Do In The Shadows” Waititi’s distinctive, delightful style is stamped all over this quirky, funny, heartfelt adaptation of Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress, and the performances he coaxes out of seasoned old hand Sam Neill and new young talent Julian Dennison are just terrific. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is irresistible; somehow managing to blend sharpness, sweetness, and satire in an utterly charming, original and joyful way, while never shying away from the undercurrent of sadness underneath, it’s never less than wonderful and I absolutely adored it.