Hunt for the wilderpeople Review The Buff and The Blazer
Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)showcases many of the filmmaker’s traits we have come to love. The film takes place all within the backdrop of his home turf and showcases New Zealand’s beauty. More than ever, Taika seems at home both in the setting and the references used in the film. What results is a film that is entirely Taika Waititi in style and proudly Kiwi.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople features some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes. From the opening homestead scenes to the panoramic shots of the brush and lakes. Taika captures the grandeur of those landscapes but maintains a sort of Wes Anderson-like mundanes. Some scenes come across as elegant backdrops which the characters operate in. Others, feel like they were shot in the backyard bushes of someone’s house. Neither of those ends discredits the other, but they rather work in tandem to underline Taika’s unique visual sensibilities. He allows the viewer to feel the grandeur of the landscape while keeping the focus on the two main characters in a particular corner of the bush.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople does not shy away from immersing the audience entirely into New Zealand life. Odds are you’ve rarely come across terms like “skux-life” or “chur.” You may have never heard of a Cadbury Flake Bar or seen a commercial for one. The film is littered with other small references to Kiwi culture like those. Cinematically, Hunt for the Wilderpeople also features homages to several New Zealand films which warrants a separate discussion altogether. The New Zealand Herald has a wonderful piece dedicated to breaking down each of those references.
Another huge strength of Hunt for the Wilderpeople is its wonderful cast. Many, if not all of them call New Zealand home. Casting local talent for a more widely distributed film is always a bonus for several reasons. For the actors, however, it gives them broader exposure and opportunities that they may not have had in local films or TV. This is a similar case for Hunt for the Wilderpeople. We’ve come to recognize a few actors in the film that have landed more major roles since, particularly Julian Dennison in Deadpool 2. After watching the film the high caliber of talent distributed in big and small roles becomes apparent. The actors utilize every second of screen time to the fullest, creating enjoyable and memorable performances.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is another great film in Taika Waititi’s impressive filmography. Ultimately what stands out is the film’s unique New Zealand heritage that people all around the world can enjoy.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is streaming on Hulu now!
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