TajLV’s review published on Letterboxd:
Viewing #8 of my MovieTalk May Film Festival Challenge
I first saw this at the Las Vegas Film Festival in June 2016. It was treat then, and it is still a treat now -- funny, creative, suspenseful, beautifully filmed, well acted, and just a joy to watch. Nothing about the big screen experience was lost watching this streaming over the Internet except the scale. And the ability to pause/rewind only added to my appreciation of director Taika Waititi's talent.
Things I never forgot:
How much I laughed out loud. The lush green beauty of New Zealand. Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and his goofy birthday song. The wicked child welfare worker Paula Hall (Rachel House). The initial iciness between Ricky and his new foster parents, especially the farmer-hunter Hector (Sam Neill), who eventually takes him under his wing. Ricky's attempts to run away. Hector breaking his leg. The government search. The ranger's hut. The three hunters. The half-dead ranger. "Majestical." The cute teen Kahu (Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne). Ricky killing the charging boar. The death of Zag. Bella's ashes. The hermit called Psycho Sam (Rhys Darby). The chase and capture. The trial. Ricky's new family. The heartfelt hug.
Things I had forgotten:
How funny and what a delightful actress Rima Te Wiata was playing Ricky's foster mum Bella M. Faulkner. Ricky's "haiku." His reaction when Bella and Hector kill the first wild boar with knives. The dogs Zag and Tupac. The funeral presided over by Waititi himself as the Minister. The fire. The pie plate with a face. The rain. The eel Hector catches. "Shit just got real." The TV reporting. The snow. The "stingray" technology. Trying to escape with "Crumpy." How well paced the film was, how lively the dialog and how well suited the eclectic soundtrack.
There was one aspect of the film I wasn't aware of before my first viewing -- it was based upon Barry Crump's 1986 book "Wild Pork and Watercress." It might be fun to give it a read someday and then watch this once more. Always interesting to see how fiction is adapted to the screen. We also know now that this film walked off with five of the eight film awards for which it was nominated at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards (II), including Best Picture and Best Director.
So chur and tu meke, Taika! You made one hardout movie -- a real box of budgies, worth an extra half star, ow. All good, bros!