Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople - on the run quirky Kiwi comedy (QFT until 6 October)

Two amateur survivalists and a couple of dogs flee civilisation into the wilds of New Zealand as they put their wits against a police manhunt. Hunt for the Wilderpeople sees an emotionally unintelligent old farmer Hec reluctantly heading to the hills with his overweight foster child as they try to outrun the wrath of the social services department.

Time spent in institutions and foster homes as well as history of getting into trouble has developed a street smarts and canniness in young Ricky that he applies effortlessly to his new circumstances. The rapport between Sam Neill and Julian Dennison builds over the 100 minute film, and it’s a shame that Rima Te Wiata’s madly eccentric scenes are so cruelly curtailed.

A chase sequence – lucky for the director that they were driving a bright red pickup to contrast with the pale vehicles in pursuit! – temporarily ups the tempo before applying the handbrake and reverting to walking pace.

The epilogue finally brought a tear to my eye, which shows how much of the story is played for laughs rather than reality.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a harmless piece of fun. Writer and director Taika Waititi doesn’t allow his creation to become too profound. But late at night a full audience will titter along in time to the visual cues (so many sentences are finished with a visual gag rather than words), songs, haikus and one liner retorts.

On the run and over the top, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a quirky Kiwi comedy and is being screened in Queen’s Film Theatre between Friday 30 September and Thursday 6 October.

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