04 August 2012

Movies: The Hunter

The Hunter (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1703148/

Drama

Martin is a mercenary/hunter hired by biotech company Red Leaf to go to Tasmania. The company had been informed of two confirmed sightings of a Tasmanian Tiger in the wild and wants blood and tissue samples.  The Tasmanian Tiger has been considered extinct since the late 1930s, so locating one is significant. Martin poses as an University researcher studying Tasmanian Devils in the area as a cover story, and spends days in the wild trying to locate and track the animal based on last known whereabouts. He experiences friction with the locals who think he's out there to shut down logging in the area. Coincidentally the house that Red Leaf arranges for Martin to stay at is owned and occupied by Lucy Armstrong and her two children. Her husband had disappeared in the wilds about a year and a half before Martin shows up, he too was tracking the possible existing Tiger. In addition to friction with the locals, Red Leaf begins getting impatient with Martin's seeming lack of progress in tracking the Tiger down.

Stars Willem Dafoe as Martin, Sam Neill as local guide Jack Mindy, Frances O'Connor as Lucy Armstrong, the lady of the house he stays at. By now everyone has seen Dafoe and Neill in tons of stuff, Frances O'Connor you might recognize as the Mom in A.I.
A notable supporting cast member is Sullivan Stapleton, if you happen to be a fan of Cinemx's "Strike Back" series, in which he plays Sgt Damien Scott. 
Also notable  was the performance of young Morgana Davies as Lucy's daughter Sass Armsrtong - she did great in her role.

Good things about the film - great location shoots throughout Tasmania, a neat  premise for a film in tracking down an extinct animal, top notch acting. Dafoe has to carry this film without saying much and, of course, delivers as Dafoe so expertly can.
However it was a slowly paced film. It's being advertised as an adventure film sort of sets one up for expecting adventure and thrills but its pace doesn't deliver. There is a couple of thrilly-like moments, but they are few and far between. Like I said - slowly paced film. Enjoyable enough, but leaves one wanting a bit more if you're expecting an adventure drama. Also some of the CG effects are "off" enough to detract from the scene.

If you enjoy well acted films or the cast, by all means watch it. If you want to see some wild Tasmanian flora, terrain, and a couple of cancer-free Tasmanian Devils (while they still exist) you'll get some of all that in this film. Don't watch it expecting a thrilling adventure story, though. It's way more sober in pace and slightly predictable in some story threads.

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