When a juvenile delinquent (Julian Dennison) and his new foster uncle (Sam Neill) go missing in the vast bush of New Zealand a national manhunt is carried out to track them down.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople comes after the rick roaring success of the 2014 film What we do in the Shadows, but for Taika Waititi (the director and star of both) this is a very different movie tonally. Where Shadows is plain and simple a comedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is far more layered. This is not to downplay how brilliant Shadows was, because it truly is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, but Wilderpeople just has that extra layer of genuine human drama in the mix. But it never once sacrifices big laughs.
It’s hard for me to explain just how charming and wonderful Hunt for the Wilderpeople is, because it’s not a film that immediately screams classic when you read the synopsis. But the central chemistry between Neill and Dennison is just so perfect that they turn any situation into something very funny and heartfelt. It’s also worth noting that the direction and cinematography is Waititi’s best yet – Wilderpeople is a gorgeous film to look at and is filled with the directorial flair that Shadows hinted at.
Every single performance in Wilderpeople is wonderful. As I have already mentioned the pairing of Sam Neill and Julian Dennison is simply note perfect. Elsewhere in the cast Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House and (of course) Rhys Darby particularily shine.
Overall Wilderpeople is a hard film to truly convey the brilliance of, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s brilliant.