Taika Waititi is responsible for a wonderful film called ‘Boy’. He wrote, acted in, and directed it so seeing his latest venture was a must. ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is based on a book called ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’ and in the hands of Taika Waititi it has become a charming film that is also very funny.
Julian Dennison plays Ricky Baker, the troubled, overweight kid in the care system who is sent to live with ‘Auntie’ Bella and ‘Uncle’ Hector in a remote part of the country. His instinct is to escape as soon as possible but his survival skills are low and each night his flight ends up back where he started.
Ricky is not the easiest kid to deal with and his trust of adults is understandably low but Bella is as tenacious as Hector is disinterested. It seems that the young boy has, at last, found a place to call home.
When a tragedy strikes, all the couple’s hard work looks as if it has been for nothing so Ricky takes off but Hector finds him. Together, they have an adventure that takes them far into the bush away from civilisation. The joy of the film is in the small moments all of which stem from the personalities of the main characters. Julian Dennison is terrific as Ricky. He comes across as authentic as the difficult and troubled youngster but, like Bella, we see the charm of a child underneath.
The major part of the film takes the form of a chase but the humour lifts this beyond the ordinary and the ending provides the satisfaction we want for all involved. This is another triumph for Taika Waititi. It is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?