Ricky (Julian Dennison) and his foster parent Hec (Sam Neill) escape into the New Zealand bush after the death of Hec’s wife Bella (Rima Te Wiata) earns Ricky a ticket back to juvenile hall. They don’t like each other all that much at first. Actually, Hec simply doesn’t like Ricky, but they warm up to each other as the film plays out, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Directed by Taika Waititi, who made one very funny vampire movie with What We Do in the Shadows (and makes a very funny appearance in this one), it’s proof that Waititi has more than laughs up his sleeves. This film has genuine warmth, great performances and, yes, some good laughs.
Neill, unrecognizable at first under his big grey beard, delivers perhaps the best performance of his career as an old codger who has a bigger heart than he realized. Dennison is good fun as the unhappy kid who just wants to be happy and will find a way to be happy, thank you very much. The always great Rhys Darby shows up as Psycho Sam, and I will give away no further details about his work in the film.
It’s a great movie about survival, being buddies, and the importance of a good dog on your trip. Waititi is filming the next Thor movie. Yep, he’s making a Marvel movie. This should be interesting.