A big-hearted film, full of small, understated moments of magic, the New Zealand-based comedy-drama Hunt for the Wilderpeople is an off-kilter charmer.
Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) has been written off by Paula, his unkindly social worker, as a bad egg: “We’re talking disobedience, stealing, spitting, running away, throwing rocks, kicking stuff, loitering and graffiti,” she gravely explains to the youngster’s new foster mother, Aunt Bella. Bella wisely ignores her and soon wins the boy over with hot water bottles, birthday songs composed in his honour, and by butchering wild hog. The pair have just bonded when Bella dies unexpectedly, leaving Ricky in the care of gruff “Don’t call me uncle” Hec (Sam Neill). Terrified at the prospect of being returned to the unkindly Paula, Ricky soon takes off into the New Zealand bush with Hec in pursuit. They’re deep in the forest when Paula and her bumbling police sidekick Andy find an empty house, and the comically inept child services duo draw their own wild conclusions. A national manhunt ensues.
Can Ricky and Hec stay ahead of the posse?
“Irresistible!” – Rolling Stone
“Comic dynamite” – The Guardian
***** – The People’s Movies
Director: Taika Waititi
Duration: 100 mins
SEAC Friends/Members - FREE, advance booking essential
Concessions and guests of SEAC Friends/Members - €4 in advance, €6 at the door
Non-Members - €5 in advance, €7 at the door