The Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

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Taika Waititi directs Sam Neill, Julian Dennison and Rima Te Wiata in this comedy where a naive delinquent and a closed off misanthrope hide out in the New Zealand wilds.

The kind of naturally funny and utterly charming movie that I know I’ll struggle to put into words quite why it is so successful. Like Groundhog Day, Stand By Me or Tremors it is so gently seductive and lovingly crafted you’ll forgive the occasional lurching shifts in tone and moments where the budget does not quite match up to the ambition. We are talking about a pure, unadulterated crowd pleaser. The ambition is worn openly on this film’s sleeve – no wasted moments or lazy shots when something impressive can be attempted. If you’ve seen Waititi’s What We Do In the Shadows then you’ll know of his ability to cast perfect improvisers effectively into seemingly broad parts and pace mundane dialogue to become quirkily warped for consistent laughs. The adventures of odd couple Ricky Baker and Uncle Hec (Sam Neill is always great value), plus dogs Tupac and Zag, will no doubt become a cult favourite you’ll relish recommending to the uninitiated.

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