sun 21/07/2024

DVD/Blu-ray: Hunt for the Wilderpeople | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

DVD/Blu-ray: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Enchanting comedy about an odd couple on the run in the New Zealand bush

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the highest-grossing film produced exclusively in New Zealand, and yet it snuck into UK cinemas at the back end of 2016 with less fanfare than it deserved. Its release as a home entertainment gives a better shot at a long life. It stars Sam Neill as Hec, an ornery old backwoodsman who reluctantly takes charge of Ricky, an unruly orphan thrust into his care. Neill has never been more loveable, but the charm of the film rests just as much on the unfettered performance of Julian Dennison as the boy.

Naturally they have nothing in common, but as they go on the run in the bush to avoid capture by social services, a mutual reliance flourishes alongside a grouchy willingness in each to learn from the other. Along the way the whip-smart script, adapted by director Taika Waititi from a novel by Barry Crump, has a lovely line in subversive repartee and supplies a stack of cinema allusions to everything from Rambo to New Zealand’s very own epic Lord of the Rings. The supporting cast is led by Rima Te Wiata, charming all too briefly as the mother figure who takes Ricky on, and Rachel House as a representative of the social services who gets all her moves from the CIA playbook.

It’s a sign of a winning comedy that you want to hang around and watch the bloopers afterwards. These are supplied in the extras alongside a director’s commentary and a making-of feature. This odd-couple adventure is a witty, heartwarming enchantment whose appeal spans the generations.


Overleaf: watch the trailer to Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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