I've been following the work of Taika Waititi for a while now. I think I caught wind of Flight Of The Conchords first (which saw him direct a few episodes), but Tongan Ninja has stuck with me all these years. I could easily credit Tongan Ninja with first putting him on my radar. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. He cameos as a dancing cook. Eagle Vs. Shark, Boy, and What We Do In The Shadows are a few other movies Taika Waititi has had a hand in, whether it be writing, acting, directing, or any combination of the three. I reviewed What We Do In The Shadows earlier this year because it's mockumentary gold in my books. Before focusing on his latest work, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, it's worth noting that he should become a household name in the next year or so because of his directorial debut in the Marvel Universe with Thor: Ragnorok. I expect huge widespread fame from him in the years to come, but in the meantime we can revel in his indie masterpieces.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople is a film about Ricky, a boy that's a bad egg. Graffitiing, littering, smashing stuff, burning stuff, breaking stuff, stealing stuff, throwing rocks, running away... That's just the stuff the authorities know about. He's adopted by a couple and has to adjust to his new life. It's implied that Ricky runs away from his new home on a regular basis but Bella, the kind and caring adoptive mother, eventually brings him into the fold. A particularly funny scene (that can be seen in the trailer) has Bella singing an awful birthday song to Ricky while accompanied by an awful keyboard.
Events happen in the film that result in Ricky taking off after faking his own death. Suffice it to say, the setup and delivery of this fake death is both ridiculous and amazing. He's easily found by Bella's husband, a loner/hunter/gatherer (played by San Neill). The two proceed to live on the lam in the wilderness of New Zealand, being pursued by the police, child protective services, and some local hunters looking to cash in on the reward for their capture.
I tried really hard to not give away any major plot points in speaking about Hunt For The Wilderpeople because I really want people to check it out for themselves. In case it hasn't been abundantly clear in previous reviews, I try my damnedest to only write reviews about films and television shows I've enjoyed. This review is no different. There seems to be a different brand of humour coming from Australia and New Zealand, and movies like Hunt For The Wilderpeople exemplifies it. Some silly and outlandish humour coupled with some heartwarming and otherwise emotional storytelling makes it a wonderful movie worth checking out.