Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016, Taika Waititi)

Fun comedy with spot-on performances, a step up from What We Do In The Shadows. Family crowd-pleaser with some harsher realities than most (Ricky Baker’s foster mother / Sam Neill’s wife’s death was horrifying, as was Sam having to shoot his beloved dog after a boar attack). Misfit orphan Ricky is homed with Bella, who dies soon afterward, so he tries to run off into the woods and grumpy old Neill ends up joining him, both of them on the run. Not enough of the director himself (he plays a priest) but we get a good dose of Rhys Darby as a foil-hatted master of disguise who helps our guys nearly escape at the end. In the coda, Ricky and his new family adopt Neill, kind of an obvious wrapping-up but it works.

Ricky previously appeared in a Sam Worthington movie about an international paper plane competition. I haven’t seen Neill since Sally Potter’s Yes. Bella was Rima Te Wiata, of recent comedy/horror Housebound. Rachel House, dedicated child-services Ricky-pursuer (who helps draw connections to Moonrise Kingdom) was in Waititi’s Eagle vs. Shark.

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