MOVIE REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople delivers laughs
I CAN'T remember the last time I sat in a darkened cinema full of strangers and we all laughed so regularly, and heartily, throughout a movie.
I don't mean just chuckles, but unabashed laughter - the kind that grows as your brain digests and fully appreciates a joke or the absurdity of a scene.
Thankfully that's just the experience I got when I watched Taika Waititi's hilarious and heartfelt Hunt for the Wilderpeople (wilder as in wilderness not Van Wilder).
The director has injected bucketloads of humour into his big-screen adaptation of Barry Crump's novel Wild Pork and Watercress.
The film follows delinquent Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) as he adjusts to his latest foster home, which his no-nonsense childcare worker Paula (played with deadpan accuracy by Rachel House) reminds him is his final chance before juvenile detention.
The city kid slowly adjusts to live in the bush, but when tragedy strikes, he finds himself lost in the woods with his cranky foster uncle Hector (Sam Neill).
A series of mishaps forces them to band together and go on the run, sticking it to the system that has failed them both.
This age-meets-youth, city-meets-bush, wisdom-meets-instinct story works because of Waititi's confident hand.
He has a clear vision for the film's storyline, which is divided into chapters Wes Anderson-style to mirror the book, and its quirky tone.
In a way, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a love letter to those living on the fringes of society who fight against the constraints of rules, regulation and bureaucracy.
From the cast to the cinematography to the soundtrack, there isn't a single thing I don't like about this film and it makes me excited for what Waititi will bring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the director of the next Thor film.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople opens at select cinemas, including Maroochydore, tomorrow.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley and Stan Walker.
Director: Taika Waititi
Verdict: 4.5/5 stars