Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★

I had been seeing nothing but positive buzz for this movie, so was very excited to finally get to check it out. It's easy to see why it has attracted such a unified great response, since it offers up an ideal mix of heart, humour and fun.

Taika Waititi previously won me over with What We Do in the Shadows, which was one of the more clever and hilarious comedies from the past few years. Hunt for the Wilderpeople presents a logical step up for his directing prowess, toning down the comedy and putting more of a focus on strong character development.

It is very easy to love this film based simply on its excess of charm. Waititi draws up a lot of empathy for the two lead characters and their makeshift quest is incredibly heartfelt. Sam Neill is very genuine and works well alongside the young newcomer Julian Dennison who is an enjoyably unconventional kid protagonist.

Generally the movie is just incredibly pleasant and sincere with how it handles the plot and characters. It keeps itself varied without getting stuck to a formula like similar films often do. The couple action scenes the film has are fantastic because we actually have reasons to care for the characters and it makes them all the more emotionally charged.

Overall a joyful little film that has its heart absolutely in the right place. Definitely a 2016 highlight.

I'm cautiously optimistic to see what Waititi does with Thor: Ragnarok. I really hope he manages to get a decent imprint on that film, since he's clearly a great director with a unique vision.

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