Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Very rarely are movies absolutely perfect in my mind. There’s almost always something wrong somewhere in the film. But I’m calling it right here, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is perfect. It is the best movie of 2016 and you should all go see it immediately.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a trouble-making ward of the state. He’s got one last chance to live a normal life with a loving family or he’s going to juvie. Instead, through some unfortunate circumstances, he gets lost in the bush with his adoptive ‘Uncle’ Hector (Sam Neill) and a country wide manhunt gets underway to find him. But Ricky doesn’t want to go back. He likes being an outlaw. And ‘Uncle Hec’ finds that he has no choice but to hide away as well.

I don’t want to talk more about the plot lest I ruin any of the surprise for you. Because this film was a total surprise for me. I’d heard of Wilderpeople only in passing, but loved the director’s last movie, What We Do in the Shadows, and grabbed that redbox. I can’t stop texting people about it. So, instead of a review, I’m going to throw a ton of adjectives at you to convince you to see this movie ASAFP.

It’s funny, charming, amusing, adventurous, well-written, well-directed, well-shot, perfectly paced, and the most perfectly cast indie film you will ever see. It’s a combination of the best of Wes Anderson and Flight of the Conchords. It’s super New Zealand. It makes you examine how people treat what might be considered the “other”. There’s a dog named Tupac. Rhys Darby shows up and he is a goddamn treasure and if you disagree you are Satan. You might pee yourself. You might cry. You might hope to get lost in the bush. You’ll be inspired to write a buddy comedy and come up woefully short. You’ll enjoy Sam Neill’s ability to do any accent asked of him. And you will walk away satisfied that original ideas are not dead and that Thor 3 might be kind of good if director Taika Waititi has any say in it.

What are you waiting for? Go see it.

4 out of 4 stars.

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