Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

A hilarious, charming, heartfelt comedy adventure from rising Kiwi director Taika Waititi. Although “chapter” headings periodically come up in the film, it feels a lot less like a series of chapters (or skits) like Waititi’s previous effort, the vampire comedy “What We Do In The Shadows”. This is a much more cohesive film, with a more anchored story.

All the performances are terrific, but none moreso than the leads, grizzly Sam Neill, and young Julian Dennison. They all deliver Waititi’s crackling dialogue excellently. The New Zealand wilderness is almost a star in itself; it shines under Lachlan Milne’s impressive cinematography.

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It might not be as creative or inspired as “What We Do In The Shadows”, but “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a more polished, cohesive film, and has a surprising amount of heart. I give it four zigs, and a zag.

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