These days we’re drowning in entertainment. When movies become “theme parks”, as Scorsese famously said of Marvel movies, it makes it all the more refreshing when we can experience stories that are narratively strong, technically proficient, and artful in their execution. Every month, Melbourne Catholic will be featuring a movie (old or new) that has perhaps escaped your attention but is still worthy of your time.

Directed by Taika Waititi and staring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the story of a young, troubled New Zealander youth named Ricky Baker who is sent to live with an elderly couple on a remote farm.

Hector (played by Sam Neill) never really wanted to take him in, and so when he tells Ricky social services is coming back, Ricky takes off into the wild, completely unable to look after himself. Hector goes looking for him, and after enough time surviving on their own the world begins to believe that Hector has kidnapped Ricky. The story becomes one of a growing family bond between the two of them while they evade a national manhunt that’s underway.

This is one of those rare films that moves deftly between comedy and tragedy in the smoothest ways possible. Taika Waititi has developed a stellar reputation as a storyteller, and there is no finer example of his talent than this film.

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