Wairarapa welcomes wilderpeople

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Actors Julian Dennison, left, and Sam Neill in Taika Waititi's film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which premiered at Regent 3 Cinemas on Wednesday night. PHOTO/FILE
Actors Julian Dennison, left, and Sam Neill in Taika Waititi's film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which premiered at Regent 3 Cinemas on Wednesday night. PHOTO/FILE

Taika Waititi's new film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is an illustration of "perfect film-making", says Regent 3 Cinemas owner Brent Goodwin.

The Masterton Cinema was among 40 other theatres around the country to premiere the Kiwi comedy on Wednesday night.

Mr Goodwin said the film, set in rural New Zealand, was well received by the Masterton audience.

"They loved it," he said.

Based on Barry Crump's novel Wild Pork and Watercress, the film tells the story of a young Maori boy and his uncle, who go on the run when Social Welfare threatens to place the boy in foster care.

"To me it's the best film I have seen in years from anywhere and after seeing the film I read the book, which, without doubt, is the best New Zealand book I have ever read. [The film] is not exactly the same as the book, but it sticks to the story."

Mr Goodwin said the performances by Kiwi film star Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison were "fantastic".

The ancillary characters made it "very New Zealand", adding quirky touches.

"The film will sell itself," he said. "I'd say this will take as much as Boy if not more."

Waititi's 2010 film Boy became the highest grossing New Zealand film at the box office.

Mr Goodwin suspected Hunt for the Wilderpeople would appeal to an international audience, saying it had been popular at overseas film festivals.

He said it would screen three or four times a day at Regent 3 Cinemas.

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