Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople ★★★★

Taika Waititi's "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is an offbeat charmer made up of equal parts adventure and comedy. A New Zealand-based trek through the bush, the film combines levity and heavier wrinkles for a work that is always engaging and enjoyably smart.

Revolving around what happens after a couple takes in an unruly orphan, "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" finds that orphan darting into the bush and starting a manhunt of which he is the focus. Initially tracked by his foster uncle, the boy and his guardian spends months in the wild as, seemingly, the rest of the country try to find the two.

The tone, here, is light, but Waititi does not shy away from darker notes. The adventure begins in tragedy, but exudes a levity that is inviting. The dialogue is smart, the production pops, and the entire affair is grounded in a wit and cleverness that makes every scene work. The beautifully wild setting adds color and organic grace to the film.

"Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is a completely appealing comedy whose heavier notes make the experience stand out. With its likable bounce, impressive sense of humor, and skillful direction, the film is a self-assured and rewarding treat.

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