The Hunter Reviews

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½ March 31, 2015
"Used to work, then it stopped. Dad says the fucken fucker's completely fucked."
March 16, 2015
(57%)
A film the promises much, but by the end offers only scraps; although there are things here that make this agreeable, but not by the end nothing particularly all that great. Willem Dafoe is perfect as the slightly cold-hearted, obsessive hunter who travels to the breathtaking Tasmanian wilderness to hunt for an animal that may for may not be extinct. The premise was there for an interesting film, so when this trundles along, never truly finding its main course of intrigue in either the hunting aspect or the hippy family that take him in, meaning this grows into an annoyingly disappointing film to watch. Dafoe's character is somewhat interesting, and so is the theme of an almost mythical beast running wild and what the realities of that means is handled well. Overall this is one of those films that appears like it should be a lot higher praised or well known - that is until you actually see it.
March 13, 2015
Very much a story about individualism and being one of a kind. This is a fairly mature effort that uses the last of a species and its inevitable decline to mirror that of Willem Defoe's character, the environment and his life.
March 1, 2015
Despite a powerful score, uniquely thrilling premise, and a commanding performance from Defoe, the Hunter is inconclusive and abrupt.
February 26, 2015
A slow-burning thriller with beautiful cinematography and moral story.
½ November 9, 2014
The Hunter has breathtaking cinematography, plain but very good acting especially from the children and a message that has heart.
½ January 16, 2015
Strange Movie About A Man Hunting The Tasmanian Tiger....
October 9, 2011
The Hunter is on of this beautifully shot, slow paced and beautiful atmospheric films. Shot in the amazing scenery of Tasmania, the film follows the story of Martin, a hunter/ scientist sent on the track of the last Tasmanian Tiger by his mysterious employer. The film quickly becomes thrilling and even though little action happen, you will be entertained and care a lot about the characters thanks to a strong screenplay and an undeniable talent of storyteller from the film maker. Great film, great cast, hypnotizing object of naturalistic cinema.
November 6, 2014
"A stranger in a strange land" has been a staple of storytelling throughout human history. While arriving alone to a location, a character can try as he can to remain who he was before his journey, but he will almost certainly be changed by those around him. The journey itself can change the character, and have them grow into someone different and new. Daniel Nettheim's 2011 film The Hunter is one such film which follows this trope.

The story is that of Martin (Willem Dafoe), a mercenary hired by a company to track down and kill the last Tasmanian tiger in existence, due to the creature's pharmaceutical capabilities. During his mission Martin is given lodging with a local woman (Frances O'Connor) and her children, who have been rocked by the disappearance of her husband one year prior. While the children are more than excited to have some company, the wife has since fallen into a neigh cationic state via stupor brought about by over-prescribed medication. Along with having to hunt the tiger and restoring the family's homestead, Martin must deal with Jack (Sam Neill), local guide who seems to have an ominous connection with the family, as well as local loggers who want outsiders to stop imposing on their livelihoods. All of this transpires around Martin, while he still ventures out into the wilderness in search of the legendary creature.

Dafoe is in his element as the slightly-distant mercenary, who at first is only concerned about his mission, but becomes a sort of replacement for the family's missing husband. He comes across as a man who gains a sense of humanity which was missing, but regains it throughout his journey. Concise, cold, and a man who tries to focus on his job, but gets sidetracked by the world around him. As always Sam Neill is fantastic in any of his roles, though mostly known for his work in Jurassic Park, he has a large filmography full of quality work. There are two child actors in the film who are actually very good, where as in some films a scene can be killed by a child actor who is placed in the film because one of his family is a producer on the film, or something. But the performances by young actors Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock are quite good, and fit well with the tone of the story.

The Hunter

When it comes to the visuals, the film relies heavily on the wild, and at times almost alien landscape of Tasmania. Where as in film, Australia is generally restricted to the red sands of the outback or the rainforest areas along the country's east-coast, The Hunter reveals Tasmania to viewers who might have the foreign land revealed to them for the first time. The variation in the landscape changes throughout the film, and works as a way to frame Martin's journey. The house he stays at is in a very grounded and peaceful forest area, but as he gets closer to finding the tiger nature becomes more hostile, starting with a temperate forest, to marshland, and eventually to a snow-covered mountain area.

The setup of the film is Martin's search for a creature which is supposedly extinct, but during most of the movie that plotline takes a backseat to his interaction with the locals, and the effect that he as an outsider has on the community. Where are before his arrival things weren't great, the townsfolk and loggers were content to live their lives, but the rumors of a living Tasmanian tiger have begun to spread and fears that conversationalists will put an end to the logging rise up. This of course leads to mob mentality which causes trouble for Martin, as well as anyone who isn't in favor of the logging industry. Though Martin has no real stake in the outcome of anything besides his job be has built up enough of a connection with his hosts that he does try and affect the situation, albeit not in a direct manor.

The Hunter is a superb film, visually, writing-wise, as well as fantastically acted with an amazing performance by Willem Dafoe being the highlight of the film. Martin's journey as a character is the cornerstone of the film, with the audience following him throughout his trials and tribulations in search of an animal thought to be long dead.
October 4, 2014
I liked this movie. The acting and the story are both amazing.
½ September 29, 2014
The Hunter should be one of the best drama suspense this year. With its silent tension in the wilderness jungles of Australia and William Dafoe's charisma, its just a perfect combination and epic. A must see.
½ August 29, 2014
Incredible story with incredible visuals. Much of the story is purposely underdeveloped and it works well with this movie, adding to the mystique of the beautiful shots. This one will affect you in surprising ways and it is dense especially in the beginning so don't expect a normal thriller. However, if you're expecting an abnormal thriller then this is your movie.
½ August 30, 2014
A film that slowly draws you in, and within its moral compass framework becomes not about human survival but about the nature of capitalism and what people do once again for money at the expense of nature.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2014
It sends a unique moral message that some mysteries should never be solved.
March 4, 2012
Nothing special. The trailer made it seem a lot more interesting than it was. Basically just watching the trailer is all the info and thrill you need. I am able to sit through slow films but this was just not nearly as interesting as the trailer lead me to believe. The only things you don't get to see are the very few, extremely short hunting scenes. Other than that, looking back on it, like I stated, I could have been better off just watching the intriguing trailer. The movie was drawn out with little meaningful scenes in between (ex: like the scenes when Dafoe is with the mother and daughter that he stays with; although the mother's son provides some usefulness to Dafoe). I really wanted to like this movie but it was simply boring and didn't stand out. There is so much more potential for a believable and interesting premise.
August 8, 2014
Picturehouse recommends
½ July 2, 2014
One of the best films i have seen in a while. I always like a film that exposes to to a world you have never seen before and an illegal job that i'm sure exists but has not been shown dozens of times on screen. Its an engaging story with a great performance by dafoe. the excellent pacing and great storytelling make you really invested the whole time. the unique setting and fleshed out world make a few predictable parts forgivable.
August 6, 2014
The Hunter (Daniel Nettheim, 2011)

Clive Barker's Sacrament is one of my favorite novels. Among Barker's best creations is the Killer of Last Things, a man whose destiny is to travel the world finding the final examples of species on the planet and driving them to extinction. Jacob, the Killer of Last Things, is an egalitarian; animal, vegetable, or mineral, he will wipe it out. On the other hand, there is Martin David, the protagonist of Julia Leigh's novel The Hunter. Martin, if that is his real name, is a specialist, a killer for hire who has been sent to Tasmania by a biotech corporation to hunt the legendary, possibly mythical, Tasmanian tiger. If it does exist, it is the last of its kind in the world.

The Tasmanian tiger is in fact extinct (though the last one ended its days in captivity; footage of it is shown during the film's title sequence). That does tend to cast a pall over things if you know it going in, and there's some crazy-conspiracist-theory stuff going on in this movie that truly stretches credibility (the corporation that hires Martin acts more like a shadow government than a multinational), but Willem Dafoe's performance, as is often the case, brings something to this movie it would not have otherwise had. While it's not in the same league as his should-have-gotten-an-Oscar turns in movies like To Live and Die in L.A. and Shadow of the Vampire, he does a very good job with a character who, to be successful, needed to be played very close to the vest. The supporting cast around him for the most part does a very good job as well, but Dafoe is the centerpiece here and the movie makes no bones about that. It is not without flaws, but is worth watching if you like your thrillers to deliver the goods over time. ***
½ July 30, 2014
The Hunter boasts engrossing locales, breathtaking cinematography, and a strong performance by Willem Dafoe, but it is ultimately a slow-burn thriller that is unable to fully engage or satisfy because of its dramatically distant narrative and incredibly slow pace.
March 3, 2012
Willem Dafoe stars as a mercenary named Martin who is sent into the Tasmanian wilderness to hunt for the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger a species long thought to be extinct. He is hired by a company called Red Leaf who are trying to procur the Tasmanian Tiger's organs in order to have its genetic material. Martin bunks at a house and slowly becomes more and more close with its inhabitants, Lucy (Frances O'Conner) who's husband had gone missing a year before doing exactly what Martin was there to do. Lucy's two young children Sass (Morgana Davies) and Bike (Finn Woodlock) take an interest in Martin and are always soon by his side. Martin soon discovers there's more going on here with the mysterious Red Leaf company. People seem to end up going missing and the company soon sends someone to "relieve" Martin of his duty. I found the movie to be really well done. The locations are awesome. The plot is well done and you feel for the characters. The last 20 minutes gets pretty intense, but the film itself has a bit of a slow feel to it the whole time building the character and plot. The film also features Sam Neil as Jack a mischievous man working for Red Leaf. I really enjoyed this one and recommend giving it a look!
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