Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Paula House, Rhys Darby
Directed By: Taika Waititi
Plot: Ricky (Dennison) is a young troubled youth in New Zealand who is on his “last chance” foster home with Bella (Te Wiata) and Hec (Neill). When he fears that child services is coming to get him again, he runs off into the brush, and the reluctant Hec goes to look for them, leading them on a new adventure… and everyone else on a manhunt.
What Works: I loved this film. Talk about an undiscovered gem. Films like this just don’t get made anymore, and they should. This is a terrific, heartwarming, funny, genuine film with a superb performance from Neill, possibly his best yet. Dennison is a good child actor too. Both have a really unique give and play in their relationship, and its what makes the film work so well. House is pretty great as an over the top villain. Darby is pretty hilarious in his brief appearance. I definitely want to watch this film again, and I want to watch it with other people. It’s the film I most want to introduce people to this year. It’s so close to my favorite film of the year. It will probably end up in the top five.
What Doesn’t Work: Nothing. This film is perfect as is.
Final Word: You absolutely must do yourself a favor and watch this film. In case you think I’m crazy, it has a 7.9 on IMDB and a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. So everyone has actually been telling you to see the film, now I’m telling you. It’s fucking fantastic. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
Final Grade: A