4 out of 5 stars
This is a film bursting with charm and likeability. Rebellious and chubby Ricky is on the run with his reluctant gruff, no-nonsense ‘foster uncle’ after an unexpected tragedy and their story is basically a version of the Odd Couple (or perhaps 48hrs) set in the New Zealand bush. The film is sweet and funny and never feels contrived, with a script that allow its story to develop organically from a few simple ideas. Shot cinematically and making the most of the wondrous natural landscapes New Zealand has to offer, Taika Waititi shows promising style and proficiency for when he takes over directing duties for the next Thor. The performances of Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison are natural and unpretentious, and thankfully never falls into comical exaggeration and saccharine cuteness; though the arrival of Rhys Darby’s Psycho Sam in the last act comes close to spoiling that with his more outlandish antics. Otherwise, this is a nicely composed and very entertaining film that, in the word of the characters in this film, is truly ‘majestical’.