Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Is the Funniest Manhunt Movie Ever

By Jose Alberto Hermosillo
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is the funniest manhunt movie ever! A wild adventure. 

Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs. Shark," "Boy," "What We Do in the Shadows"), New Zealand
From the accomplished director Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Boy,” “Eagle vs. Shark,” and the upcoming Marvel Superhero adventure: “Thor: Ragnarok”) comes this incredible adventure “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”

This New Zealand smatching hit opens with a beautiful landscape that looks out of one of “The Hobbit” movies, where our adventure begins.

Classified by the authorities as a menace to society, Ricky (Julian Dennison) is sent to a foster home on a farm. 

The film vividly shows, in a flashback, his criminal record: cursing, graffiti, and spitting, among other felonies done in his elementary school and the streets. 

The vehement social worker takes those offenses seriously. She becomes an obsessive vigilante of the kid from beginning to end.

Ricky gets a new chance to live on a very modest farm with Aunt Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and the crabby Uncle Hec, played by Sam Neill. They don't have any children or modern devices to entertain this young punk who likes hip-hop.

In a marvelously welcoming scene, they receive Ricky with open arms, a birthday cake, and a precious gift, a dog he names Tupac.

When he gets used to the new lifestyle, something freaks him out, propelling his escape into the wild. 

After a few days alone, Uncle Hec joins him. As they share the road, the adventure turns amusing, and the manhunt goes viral because the odd couple becomes the famous outlaw and the most wanted on the Internet.
“Hunting for the Wilderpeople” has some underlying questions hard to see in a Hollywood movie: What an ethnic child is doing with an older white male alone in the woods? Who are wilder, the runaways or the hunters? Who always pushes Ricky to the side, the people or the system?

Ricky is wonderfully played by a very young and talented Julian Dennison (“Chronesthesia,” “Paper Planes,” and “Shopping”). He is hilarious; his confidence and charisma go beyond expectations. Ricky's self-esteem never goes down because Ricky is a warrior and never gives up.
Julian Dennison, photo by Jose A Hermosillo, Copyright Festival in LA 2016
Contemplating the breathtaking landscape, Uncle Hec tells his little companion: “This place is “majestical,” the kid corrects him: “Majestic” is the right word.”
In every chapter, the film has an incredible new adventure, with clever references to “Rambo,” “The Terminator,” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Also, a spectacular car chase is comparable to any of Australia's “Mad Max” movies.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” remarkably shows children in everyday situations becoming extraordinary – as in the 2004 British film “Millions” by the Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Trainspotting”) or “Whale Rider,” 2004. Also, it has similar humor as in the 2013 Eugenio Derbez Mexican hit “Instructions Not Included.”

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” correctly dwells on universal values of acceptance, tolerance, diversity, respect, and above all... love one another.

Copyright © Festival in LA, 2016

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