Storyclock Research Log

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

By Seth Worley

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This week in the Research Log, we're clocking one of my favorite movies of the last 5 years (and possibly all time): Taika Waititi's HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. As usual, we've watched the movie and used the Storyclock Notebook to visualize the film's structure in the form of a clock.


Let's Break It Down

  • Opening Image: Aerial shots of the New Zealand bush.
  • Normalcy: Ricky arrives, he's a real bad egg. But Bella provides him the home he's never had, and he quickly accepts the love being given to him. He gets a dog. Names him Tupac. Gets along well enough with Hec.
  • Normalcy Disrupted: Bella dies.
  • Herald: Hec delivers the bad news that Ricky can't live with Hec, and that child services is going to come and get him.
  • Rational Approach: Ricky briefly tries to argue with Hec, but this lasts about 5 seconds.
  • Acceptance and Break Into Act 2: Goodbye, Ricky Baker. Ricky fakes his death, inadvertantly burning down the barn, and runs away into the bush.
  • B Story Begins: Child services finds burnt barn. On the case.
  • Trailer Moments/Promise of the Premise: Wilderness montage. Ricky getting lost. Getting hungry. Hec finds him. Hurts himself. Broken foot camp. Encounter the hunters. Find out they're fugitives. Escape back into the bush.
  • Midpoint/Arrival at Solution: They live the fugitive life. Ricky has family. They even spot a Huia. Life is majestical.
  • Things Get Worse: They find the sick park ranger and Ricky runs to town for help. Meets Kahu. Spends time with her and her dad. Realizes the family/home life he'll probably never have. Accidentally sleeps in. Child services got to the ranger before he could get back to Hec. Now he's alone.
  • Hero's Last Resort: Paula from child services finds Ricky. Tries to make a deal with him to give up Hec. Ricky refuses. Escapes into the bush and survives on his own a bit. Reunites with Hec.
  • Game Over: Hec's dog Zig is killed by a boar.
  • Breakthrough and Rebirth/Break Into Act 3: Ricky gives Hec Bella's ashes to scatter on the waterfall.
  • Hero Gains Upper Hand: They evade the swat team some more. Stumble upon Psycho Sam, who provides them shelter.
  • Shadow's Final Push: Child services/swat team shows up at Psycho Sam's. A chase ensues in Krumpy, Psycho Sam's truck. The chase ends in a junkyard, where Ricky reveals that he has no intention of ending this, while Hec is ready to give up. It causes the two of them to say some things and shoot some things neither of them really intend.
  • Ultimate Breakthrough: Court montage. Kahu's family adopts Ricky.
  • New Normalcy: Ricky visits Hec at home. Hec is learning to read. Hec's amazing haiku. Audience weeps with joy.
  • Final Image: Ricky and Hec going off into the bush recreationally. Aerial shots of the bush.

There are very few movies that I can confidently recommend to every person I know. This is one of them. It's hilarious and heartwarming and something else that starts with h.

Storyclock Notebook

A notebook designed for screenwriters and story nerds.

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