‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ gave us an unforgettable Sam Neill Performance

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The Big Picture

  • Sam Neill’s role as Uncle Hec in Hunt for the Wilderpeople showcasing his emotional range and flexibility beyond his iconic Alan Grant character from Jurassic Park.
  • The relationship between Uncle Hec and Ricky Baker, played by Julian Dennison, drives the film’s narrative and highlights their chemistry and connection.
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a heartfelt story about two people who don’t fit social norms but find solace and understanding in each other as they go on an adventure together.

It’s hard to imagine Sam Neill and not immediately picturing him in his paleontologist uniform from Jurassic Park. The film and the part are so iconic that he and Dr. Alan Grant joins at this point. But there is much more to Neill’s career and field than running from dinosaurs. One of his best roles is, of course, a very emotional one, which may not seem so different to Alan Grant, but it couldn’t be further. We are talking about Hector Faulkner, or simply “Uncle Hec” in Taika WaititiIt’s a 2016 classic Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

The film is an adaptation of a book by Barry Crump, Wild boar and waterfowl, and, as usual, Waititi gives it a lot of his own spin. The main character is the now legendary Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a tween who is constantly let down by the New Zealand foster care system and, as a result, becomes angry with the world for it. He also has no luck, because, when he is finally accepted by the strange, but loving Bella (Rima Te Wiata), she dies soon after, leaving him to be adopted by another family, because her husband, Hec, doesn’t care about anything but hunting. To break the cycle, he tries to fake his own death but instead he sparks a manhunt for himself and Hec across the country.

Related: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Is Taika Waititi at His Best, Thanks to Stu

What is ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ about?

Sam Neill and Julian Dennson in Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Photo via Defender Films

Hunt for the Wilderpeople this is Taika Waititi’s last film before joining the MCU with him Thor: Ragnarök. Back then, he was still famous for another comedy, What we do in the shadows, and for his deeply personal, emotional, and silly films, especially the semi-autobiographical Boy. Wild people follows this trend, acting almost like a story or a bedtime story turned into a movie, to convey its narrative and elegant style.

The film centers on Ricky Baker and his feeling of being let down by every adult he’s ever known, but it’s really about coming to terms with connection level. His relationship with Hec is what really drives the narrative, and Sam Neill and Julian Dennison have such good chemistry that the film could very well just follow them. go through the forest in New Zealand and it would be good enough already, because they always choose each other. and discover strange people who live off the grid. In a way, that’s how they both want to continue with their lives and the real challenge is to adapt to the “real world”.

One of the most impressive scenes is certainly their dissatisfaction with what society expects of them, as well as what they want from life. While spending the night in a cabin in the woods, Ricky writes his haikus, which he learned in the foster care system as a way to express his feelings. Usually, he writes about random stuff and even tries to speak in haiku to try to get everyone around him to understand, but he doesn’t want this particular haiku show Hec because he thinks it’s stupid: “Trees, birds, rivers, sky. Running with my uncle Hec. Live forever.” As simple as it can be, this poem sums up what both of them really feel. Gradually, Ricky gets to- find out that people can love him, despite what the nursing service officials keep telling him, and Hec is the first push in that direction.

The differences between Uncle Hec May and Alan Grant

Photo via Defender Films

When you think of a grumpy man who lives alone and has a hard time dealing with children, we might picture Uncle Hec or Alan Grant. They even dress a bit like them, with hats, button-down shirts, and boots! For all we know, Hec could be an older version of Grant, but these two couldn’t be further apart, really – and it’s not just about the lack of dinosaurs which is this. Hunt for the Wild people. The two roles are indeed somewhat similar, but it is with Hec that Sam Neill shows emotional range and flexibility, as Hec’s hard shell slowly melts due to his relationship with Ricky.

When we meet Hec, he is married to Bella, who provides the only balance to his gloom, and the only thing that keeps him connected to society in a general way. Deep down, he is just as damaged and marginalized as Ricky, someone who had no support growing up and whose skill set no longer fits society’s needs. We may think that paleontologist is the same, but Grant is also an academic, so there is a difference. For Hec, life is the way it is because he didn’t grow up. He didn’t go through many of the steps that people usually go through, learning life or becoming a parent. He just went into the wilderness and learned what it has to offer, and that’s what life is all about for him.

Sam Neill’s best role to date

Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Photo via Defender Films

Neill does a great job portraying such a complex character who says so much with so few words. He may appear old on the outside, but the adolescent “leave it alone” approach is his modus operandi. At first, we might even think that he might be ultra-conservative because that is the general stereotype for his type of character (an old farmer who lives in the middle of nowhere and loves to hunt and live off the grid). But that’s the last thing he pretends to be, and it’s good to see Neill shedding the layers of the character back. Chemistry with Dennison is the cornerstone of the film, and the two have a natural synchronicity about their relationship that Alan Grant could only dream of having with the children in Jurassic Park.

A story Hunt for the Wilderpeople it’s so beautiful because, in the end, it’s about a relationship between two 12-year-olds, so to speak (as Neill himself says in a 2016 interview). Collider). Except, one is an old man who had no way of growing up, and the other is an actual pre-teen. Each of them decide to live in society in their own way after Bella dies, and it is shocking that they would eventually meet each other and run away together while the whole country looking for them – the world has a way of fighting those who don’t. t suitable. Ricky may have run away from the farm where he was going to live, but he is not lost, because Uncle Hec is with him. These two share a lot, and it is in their adventure together that they find the pieces of themselves that are missing in each other.

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