WRITER and Director Taika Waititi has been rapidly growing in popularity ever since the indie horror/comedy hit, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ came out of New Zealand back in 2014.

He is at the point now where he is chairing the upcoming Thor film, ‘Ragnarok‘, for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is easily Taika’s best film in his young directing career and that is some achievement given ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ was one of the best films in 2014.

The humour that Taika weaves into his scripts is so dry but it has a bizarre element that just makes it so infectious and utterly hilarious.

This is definitely the funniest film of the year so far and it’s not even an all-out comedy.

But the emotion that’s in there and the excellent story is what pulls this from simply being great entertainment to a truly great film.

Ricky Baker, a troubled foster child (played excellently and hilariously by Julian Dennison) is taken to live with new parents, Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hector (Sam Neill) out on the edge of the New Zealand bush.

Despite some issues towards the beginning of his stay, eventually Baker begins living a rather pleasant albeit very different life with his new family.

Circumstances occur, however, which lead to Ricky and Hector having to unwillingly camp out in the middle of the bush and live there.

This turns into a national manhunt to try and retrieve them led by the power crazy, Paula Hall (Rachel House), the social services worker who originally brought Ricky to live with Bella and Hector and this is where the film becomes wonderfully eccentric and bizarre.

It is not an easy film to describe because of its somewhat odd nature but the comedy is genius, the story is wonderful and the emotional moments are heartfelt.

It is a great father/son tale with Ricky and Hector originally not liking each other very much at all…but after nearly six months on the run living out in the bush, they grow to become rather fond of each other, helping each other out with each new problem that comes along in often very funny ways.

It is clear to see why Waititi is one of the fastest growing star directors in the industry today after watching this film which does include a particularly memorable cameo from Waititi himself.

His humour is really why he has become so popular and it’s great to see that he can expand (and improve) from ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ to projects like this that required so much more.

Back onto the film itself, the chemistry between Sam Neill and Julian Dennison was surprisingly excellent.

Looking at the two of them, you wouldn’t guess they would work this well together but they could easily rival any comedic pairing we have seen so far this year.

If you are familiar with, and like Waititi and his style of humour, it seems very likely that you will greatly enjoy this film.

It is one of the best of the year so far, certainly the funniest and is yet another example of this year’s excellent independent releases.

If this has not been the year that will turn you into a fan of indie films, there simply won’t be one.

You really have to see this film to truly appreciate the weirdness within.

It is one that will surely be talked about not just by fans of Waititi but by film fans in general for years to come.

If independent cinema continues with the quality it has had this past year, we may begin to see the new wave of legendary, iconic films in the very near future.

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is pure genius and should not be missed.

By Morgan Robinson

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