Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Young Ricky (Julian Dennison) is known as a ‘bad egg’ and when he is placed in the foster care of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her husband Hec (Sam Neill), it’s only the threat of ‘juvie’ that keeps him from running away from their remote New Zealand farm. Ricky has appropriated American rap culture for his personal brand and he turns up dressed like Turtle from early seasons of Entourage, but while he wants to be ‘Gangsta’, he is shocked at the actual violence required for everyday life on the farm.

Like most antipodean movies that achieve international success, there is a wilderness or outback element that delights the foreign audiences and city slicker locals alike. While we may not be a Crocodile Dundee type ourselves, we like to think we could be if the circumstances were different.  Here, Sam Neil looks the part of grizzled bushman, but as we learn more about him, we understand that a label of ‘ex-wino vagrant’ could sit just as comfortably on his flanno covered shoulders.


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