The Hunter Daniel Nettheim

The Hunter Daniel Nettheim
The Hunter starts simply: a mercenary named Martin (Willem Dafoe) waits in a Paris airport for word from his employers. When they arrive, his assignment is given: track and retrieve biological samples from a Tasmanian tiger, a creature thought extinct. We can infer that said employers (a biotech company called Red Leaf) will use the samples to clone more Tasmanian tigers. Martin arms himself and creates a cover story for those living near the deep forest where the animal is said to roam. Few of them believe it. So far, so interesting – I've always wanted to see a film about a man tracking a Tasmanian tiger. But, ultimately, The Hunter isn't really about hunting and the tiger doesn't seem worth all the trouble. Though not clear in its strong first act, this is one of those movies wherein a cold, impenetrable loner has his neutrality tested by an evil oppressor. Martin's hosts, you see, are eco-activists with a missing family member. Red Leaf might be involved, or a local crew of loggers, or both. It's unfortunate for the story that, like many faceless movie corporations, Red Leaf is inclined to resort to impractical violence at the first sign of disruption. As this conflict found its bloody conclusion, I wanted to rewind the picture and ask Martin not to get so attached to the locals. There is much to recommend here: Dafoe is strong, as usual, and Tasmania offers scenery both beautiful and ominous. These qualities distract us from overly predictable story beats. The special features offer more information on the Tasmanian tiger and geographical context, illumination that may have found a better fit in the film itself. (eOne)