Star – Sam Neil
My Rating ****
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 1 Hr 41 Min
Certificate – PG13
Country – New Zealand
Awards – 21 Wins & 25 Nominations
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Every year the same type of righteous dull films win the Oscars and generally a forgettable experience for many. Slumdog Millionaire was the last time I was wowed by a Best Picture. And so its films like this little comedy gem that go unnoticed as the big awards ceremonies suck the life out of the industry as much more entertaining movies go unseen. I know comedies never win Oscars but this is delight, New Zealand’s biggest grossing movie ever at $12 million American dollars world-wide. No, the Lord of the Rings doesn’t count. That was an American film, and a cheeky reference here to that.
Sam Neill … Hec
Julian Dennison … Ricky
Rima Te Wiata … Bella
Rachel House … Paula
Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne … Kahu
Oscar Kightley … Andy
Stan Walker … Ron
Mike Minogue … Joe
Cohen Holloway … Hugh
Rhys Darby … Psycho Sam
Troy Kingi … TK
Taika Waititi … Minister
Hamish Parkinson … Gavin
Ricky (Julian Dennison), a chubby 12-year-old delinquent foster kid with attitude, has pitched up in the sticks with the cops and welfare lady for his latest re-homing. The patient Bella (Rima Te Wiata) will be his new mom for a bit and pleased to see him on her farmstead, Hec (Sam Neill), Bella’s male partner, less so. Ricky’s real mom abandoned him as a kid and no sign of dad since so the kid has trust issues.
Ricky runs away on the first night and quickly tracked down by Hec. The kid settles in after a while and takes a liking to Rachel and next door neighbor Paula (Rachel House), who teaches him how to gut a pig and fire big guns. As their family bond grows tragedy happens when Bella drops dead, meaning Ricky will be returned to ‘juve’ in the city, no one else in New Zealand willing to take him on. But Ricky is not going back and runs away again, Hec tracking him down again. But they both quite fancy a walkabout to get their heads straight and soon two days deep in the bush, before Hec falls and breaks his ankle, meaning they have to stay put and make camp for a month or so to let the bone set, using all their survival skills.
Now the pair are officially lost and after a run-in with some hunters they become New Zealand’s most wanted after some unsavory accusations are made but misunderstood, meaning they are all over the news and the nation cheering them on, welfare, cops and the army in hot pursuit!
I generally review films that I really like or already have a review in my head and so a good angle to review, good or bad. This one is very much in the must see category and so worth me telling you all about it. It is hilarious and charming and cult director Taika Waititi becoming a real star. I loved this and chuckled all the way through. The little kid is very funny with great comic timing and everyone else also pitch perfect. Sam Neil is the calming guiding spirit, and that lovely New Zealand accent the films charm. I just can’t fault this and amazed its only did $23 million dollars from its $2.5m budget.
It’s comfortably in my top ten films from last year and I advise you to flick through your movie package to find it. It’s just one of those standout comedy films we don’t see any more. Please please please see this movie. I guarantee you will laugh and laugh and laugh…
Imdb.com – 7.9/10.0 (85,246votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 96% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 81 % critic’s approval