‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is an eventful rollercoaster of emotion

The Channels Art Pages | ROD’S REVIEWS

Photo+Illustration.

Rodrigo Hernandez

Photo Illustration.

Rodrigo Hernandez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ grasps the viewer by the heartstrings while delivering New Zealand’s signature brand of quirky, deadpan humor.

This style of humor is prevalent throughout the works of visionary writer/director Taika Waititi, and it exudes throughout the film. 

Waititi’s films juxtapose comedy with tragedy, while not shying away from subtle, dark humor, providing a story and experience that feels relatable and human. 

Based on the book “Wild Pork and Watercress,” the film follows foster child Ricky Baker, whose delinquencies have caused him to be relocated to his distant relative’s remote farm.

Events unfold, leaving Ricky and his uncle with no choice but to run off and hide in the forest, or “the bush” as it’s called in the film. Spending time together in the bush, the two develop an unlikely bond while attempting to evade a manhunt.

The cast fit into their roles perfectly. The two protagonists, Sam Neil as Uncle Hec and Julian Dennison as Ricky, naturally play off of each other’s chemistry to unveil a story that is bittersweet and full of heart. Along with the hilarious Rachel House as the obsessive child services worker endlessly chasing them is sprinkled throughout, with a wonderfully eccentric cameo from the director himself.

The score and soundtrack accompany the film in a way that not only enhances the story but makes the scenes that are silent much more profound. The editing style of sweeping landscapes with montages of the character’s actions complements the music while smoothly guiding the audience through this emotional rollercoaster.

Working with a budget of NZ $4.5 million, Waititi accomplished a story that is both grandiose and engaging. Grossing over NZ $12 million, the film became the highest-grossing New Zealand movie, and currently still holds that title. 

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ makes you laugh, cry, and leaves you with an optimistic perspective about the ups and downs that we all experience throughout our lives.

I give it an 8/10.