Film No. 32 (2016) May 14th. 10.45 AM LUNA Leederville.
"Hector Faulkner and Ricky Baker have been missing now for six weeks. Faulkner is Cauc asian. Well they got that wrong because you are obviously white". (Ricky (Julian Dennison) reads a news article to his "uncle" Hector while they are "on the run").
From the Barry Crump novel with the odd title Wild Pork and Watercress comes the highly entertaining Taika Waititi film Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This unique film will woo crowds of all ages I'm sure because of the wonderful way serious subject matters are treated so tenderly but still make us laugh uproariously. This is no mean feat, you have to see the film to appreciate Waititi's technique.
Ricky Baker is a bad boy. He's not loved, is a ward of the state and needs to be found foster parents willing to take him or he's off to juvenile detention. It's here that the film wins us over in one scene. Paula (Rachel House) and Officer Andy (Oscar Knightly) arrive at Hector (Sam Neill)and Bella (Rima Te Wiata) Faulkner's secluded farm somewhere in the New Zealand wilderness. Their cargo is Ricky Baker and we quickly see that both Bella and Paula form unique relationships with Ricky which have us chuckling immediately.
We spend time with Ricky as he gradually softens and adapts to Bella's hospitality, while gradually warming to an indignant Hector. Then the rhythm of The Wilderpeople stalls briefly for good reason. There is a change of circumstance and grumpy Hector and Ricky are thrown together to quite unrealistically fend for themselves for a good deal of time in the surrounding, wild bush-land. If not for the exquisite establishment scenes and wonderful script, the whole silly scenario would have fizzled out before our eyes.
I enjoyed Boy (2010), another of Waititi's poignant films. He has a knack of bringing warmth to the hearts of his audiences through the eyes of an unloved boy with an abundance of charisma and love to give. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is less serious than Boy but is just as thought provoking. There is hardly a performance out of place with the delightful Waititi himself appearing as a priest in a scene fit for a Monty Python sketch. 11GUMS.