I’ve had this movie sitting in my iTunes, downloaded and at the ready to watch, since it’s release in September last year.  It was only until now that I thought to watch it, and what a mistake that was to wait.

Taika Waititi’s hilariously dramatic adventure of an old, seemingly one-dimensional geezer, Uncle Hec (Sam Neill), and the plump city orphan, Ricky (Julian Dennison), getting chased further into the New Zealand bush when Child Protective Service agent Paula (Rachel House) thinks Ricky’s been kidnapped.  With her tenacity to leave “no child behind” she gathers the police to flush them out, only pushing them further into the wildnerness and closer together.

He strings along a beautifully funny tale of grief and human connection in the purely New Zealand way.  The over-sensative moments of heart-to-heart seen too often in American films is skipped over, just barely touching the surface when Ricky talks about his chances of survival or happiness if he’s brought back into the foster system.  Instead, Waititi builds an understanding between the two, enlightening the cliches of the geezer and the unreachable, young boy, and having them fall into an easy friendship after the initial ill-temperedness.

I would highly recommend anyone to this pseudo-eighties adventure homage that uses creative scores and spirited dialogue to keep the audience engaged, even though the masterful shots of New Zealand would make up for any lag in the story (of which there is none).  It’s exciting from beginning to end, and Waititi does such a brilliant job of building character against stereotype, making their personalities so vibrant, yet natural and constantly funny.