The Hunter is a good example of how scenery can add much to a story’s ambience. When the locale is the wide expanses of the Tasmanian Wilderness it isn’t difficult to see what attracted its film-makers. Based on Julia Leigh’s novel it explores the affect being alone in such a place can have on people. It hits the target in this regard as the fine acting ensemble and direction makes for arresting viewing.
Sent to Tasmania by a mysterious biotech company, Martin (Willem Dafoe) is a man on a mission. Tasked with capturing the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger he believes he can succeed. Living with a family near the location including Lucy (Frances O’Connor) little does he know of the looming dangerous times ahead. With hidden agendas and corporate ruthlessness surfacing, the psychological and physical impact they bring spells trouble for those around him in unexpected ways.
Willem Dafoe should be happy with his acting in The Hunter as it solidly adds to his fine resume. Directed with focussed intensity by Daniel Nettheim he draws out a very humane performance from his lead. Successfully conveying the loneliness of his character’s profession, Dafoe digs deep to explore how such a regimented person interacts with those he faces. With the added pressure of ongoing tension between environmental activists and loggers this emotional whirlwind forces him to reassess his actions.
Unlike many recent local movies having so many elements in the script The Hunter juggles these with skill. Every scene blends into the next with ease allowing for total engagement. The biggest asset is the amazing cinematography. The Tasmanian wilds look suitably stunning and all its harshness and beauty are superbly captured. Whilst certain plot points tend to become muddled towards the end, The Hunter is never less than enthralling and maintains interest throughout.
It’s pleasing seeing an Australian film taking the time to carefully tell its tale. The Hunter does so very well and can be taken on many levels – a mark of any good story. Gripping and interesting it deftly conveys how sometimes the hunter can often be searching for something other than its prey.
Movie Review Rating 8 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.