Hunt for the Wilderpeople

LetterboxD review link

Up + Top of the Lake + Moonrise Kingdom

Taika Waititi is a confident film maker. His worldview, one characterized by humor, pain, naïveté and openness, is present in this film, just as it was in his earlier film Boy. It might be a bit harder to find in What We Do In The Shadows but I would argue it’s there too.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a fantasy film, or perhaps a film in which each character gets to live their own fantasy but it stays true to its realism. The world we get feels like our own, well not mine exactly, but a version of my world in the New Zealand outback. In this world, Ricky gets to live out his gangster fantasy. Heck gets to live out his roughing it in the bush fantasy. Paula gets to be a bounty hunter, or as Waititi put it in a QandA after the movie, Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive. All these parts fit together nicely for a story with equal parts humor, empathy and openness.

I don’t know if I’ll ever turn to Waititi for a hyper-intellectual or overly aesthetic world view. But he and his collaborators continue to turn out lovely work. Work that is “nice” but not in the feckless version of that word.