Take a pot, put a bit of Up(2009), pour some Wes Anderson and also a bit of The Revenant(2015) and you have one of the funniest movies of 2016. I don’t know why I kept this for so long. Actually it was great that I didn’t watch it before. A few hours before watching this movie, I had watched A Serbian Film(2010). If you think you were disturbed after knowing the twist ending of Oldboy(2003) and even felt a bit sick then after watching A Serbian Film, you’ll feel that Oldboy was nothing. I am not kidding.
So, I needed something to soothe my senses and lo and behold.
This movie is about Ricky Baker(Julian Dennison), who is one of the most notorious kids in New Zealand and he is sent to an elderly couple who wants to adopt him. As he starts to get cosy with them, a series of mishaps happen and a nation-wide manhunt begins for Ricky and his foster uncle, Hector(Sam Niell).
I know it sounds crazy but it is an absolute joyride. It has the perfect sense of dark humour that I am accustomed to. None of the jokes are actual jokes. All of the funny stuff is circumstantial. The writing by Taika Watiti is so funny and crisp, that he keeps the conversational scenes very grounded but funny all the same. There is a level of absurdity in the movie, but it is not that absurd that you have to suspend the sense of reality. I mean, you will begin to go with the flow very soon.
In order to be at par with the writing, the visuals also have a sense of darkness to it. I actually happen to love dark comedy over out and out comedy movies. Many people didn’t like Ryan Reynolds’ The Voices, probably because the visuals were very bright in comparison to the humour. Not in this movie though. Blood is spilled, bones are broken and the sweeping shots of the landscape gives a sense of awe and also a sense of place. Some of the external shots are just breath-taking and as it is shot in New Zealand, there is a little nod to LOTR. The music in the movie is very soothing. In order to keep the movie on a trot, the movie is edited to give it a comic-book kind of a feel. It felt very heavily inspired by Wes Anderson’s movies. The action though, is pretty adrenaline pumping, especially during the last few minutes. The last few minutes can pretty much give competition to some of the A-listed action movies. I was also amazed by the use of CGI in this movie. It is almost unnoticeable and that’s what makes it so great.
Majority of the movie rests on Sam Niell and Julian Dennison, and they gave extremely great performances. Their characters attain an arc, considering the situation they were in. Julian Dennison portrays a variety of emotions through minute expressions and is exceptionally good at physical comedy. Sam Niell’s Hector was like a live-version of Up‘s Carl Fredricksen. The hunters who kept getting robbed, the children’s rights officer and every other small actors and actresses played their parts very admirably. Heck, even Bush-man was awesome.
FINAL VERDICT – If you haven’t watched this movie thinking it is just “some indie movie”, then do watch it because you’re missing out on one of the best comedy/adventure movies of all time. Definitely watch this movie. Even though it has a kid in this movie, I would advise you to keep your kids away from this one, honestly. But, definitely give it a watch.
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