Hunt For The Wilderpeople

500 Days Of Film Reviews Hunt For The Wilderpeople Starring Sam Neill, Julian Dennison And Rima Te Wiata

Defiant city boy Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is offered a final chance foster family in the New Zealand countryside -  joining eccentric but loving Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata), cantankerous Uncle Hec (Sam Neill), and faithful dog Tupac. 


However, tragedy strikes and Ricky’s home life comes under threat. Desperate to avoid the clutches of child protective services (no child left behind), both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. 


As a national manhunt ensues, the unlikely outlaws face two choices. They will either go out in a blaze of ‘gangster’ glory or learn to overcome their differences and survive as a family.

Is It Any Good?

Frustratingly, Hunt For The Wilderpeople was not widely screened in the UK. However, as word of mouth spread, Taika Waititi’s new film became one of the must see movies of 2016. Now available on VOD (video on demand), this wonderful

film can reach the audience that it so richly deserves. 


Hunt For The Wilderpeople is just the film we need after what has been an undeniably tough year. It is utterly charming and laugh out loud funny - be prepared to watch this movie with a huge grin on your face. It is also deeply poignant without feeling the need to break your heart into tiny pieces. 


In short, Hunt For The Wilderpeople is a special, feel good film - it makes you feel better just for watching.



The inherent warmth of Hunt For The Wilderpeople comes from its performances. Rima Te Wiata is brilliantly endearing as Bella - reminding me of her previous role in Housebound. Julian Dennison gives a wonderful performance as Ricky - he is already (at just 13 years old) a master of comic timing and natural humour.

Meanwhile, Sam Neill is superb as grumpy Hec. 


Waititi’s direction finds the perfect balance between heart-warming family story and hilarious farce. More understated than his 2014 film, What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt For The Wilderpeople is entertaining, charming and hugely enjoyable. Seek it out soon, you won’t regret it - this movie is an instant classic. 

Random Observations

Hunt For The Wilderpeople is the second highest grossing New Zealand film. I’m sure that the movie will help the country’s tourism - Waititi’s swooping aerial shots showcase the incredible natural beauty of the region.


I really enjoyed Waititi’s 360 degree shots that established the passing of time.  


Taika Waititi’s next film is Thor: Ragnarok


Hunt For The Wilderpeople is based on Barry Crump’s book Wild Pork and Watercress.


Have you seen Hunt For The Wilderpeople? If you have, what did you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments section below! 

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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