The Hunter – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

the hunterThe Hunter – 2/5 – This is going to be for a review for a film that came out a few years ago.  I got a chance to watch it, and I have to say that a film with a title of ‘The Hunter’, you would expect something with substance.  Well, it was lacking in some aspects of this word.  This is a film that has a strong main character presence and visuals, but is muddled because of story distraction and underwhelming development.

Premise:  Martin is a mercenary, who is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness.  He is sent to hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger.

As mentioned above, the movie focuses on one character, by the name of Martin.  He is played by well known actor, WIllem Dafoe.  In this film, you witness the strengths of acting.  I say you see the strengths of acting because there is quite a few times where there is a lack of dialogue.  In these times, the film is left to be carried through a vast array of silent moments, physical interactions and atmospheric surroundings.  With this being the main focus of the character, Dafoe helps exude a ‘loner’ presence as this mercenary hunter, tracking down a rare, possibly extinct animal.  Throughout these moments, you are witness to him while he uses his mercenary skills as he tracks, set traps, and maps the trails of the lost creature.  Dafoe helps create a more logical perspective for a character, and in doing so, he captures the audience through a unique perspective, which makes the audience have to patch the building while the character sheds his identity, piece by piece on screen.  He has interactions with local residents, but most of the time; you’re privy to the hunting experience.  This is a plus because it gives a fresh look at a different acting technique.  The only downfall of this is, with a lack of emotional depth to this added mix, it causes a lot of boring moments; when they are suppose to be riveting.  With the rest of the cast, there isn’t much to say, explain or detail about them.  They are in harmony to common archetypes for a basic film premise: residential friendlies and foes, the common ‘love/moral’ characters, and the aloof bad guy.  You won’t really care much for these characters, as they are more of side distraction to the overall arching of the hunt.

When it comes to the direction of the film, you can say out of the first and last act, it is a convoluted mess.  In the beginning, the film starts out solemn and focused, as you’re introduced to Martin.   In the introduction, you are shown his a hired mercenary, given an assignment by a pharmaceutical company to track down a rare animal, the Tasmanian tiger.  After getting the job, he is off to Tasmania, and is left to his own devices to provide what the company needs.  As the film moves along from the films basic setup, you watch as Martin begins to get involved with the locals.  Here, we are introduced to quite a few side stories, especially one that involves a local lady and her kids, because he is tasked to live with them while he does his investigative work.  For the plus side of these added side stories, you are given some detailed perspective that gives contrast to familiar concepts of family, individualism and morality.  Even for these intuitive takes on these themes, you also realize the ‘convenient’ plot devices introduced here (either through these characters or the area) that helps connect ‘point A to B’.  This creates a basic, unfocused narrative, as the sides stories drag the overall ‘arching’ hunting story.  The one positive aspect of Martin’s side story interactions is that it does help create a layered perception between the hunt and the ideals of the hunt.  Is it really worth killing an endangered species and if at that is it worth the time to even hunt it?  Overall, with these new elements introduced, you start to watch as side stories become more of a distraction, and the main storyline looses any kind of traction.  The film does correct some of the flaws within the beginning of the third act, as it pushes some of the side stories to ‘unwanted’ loose ends or some kind of conclusion.  Once the direction of the film refocuses back on Martin and his assignment, the ‘Loner’ aspects of a human psyche that was subtlety introduced in the beginning comes on strong.  As you watch this ‘character piece’ unfold, you see how the hunting aspect brings in the raw tension you were hoping to expect, as the film leads to a climax that will either detail the eventual capture or killing of the ‘rare’ tiger.  In the end, you feel like you’ve seen a film that had some good poignant moments, but was definitely lacking in creating any kind of real entertainment value.

The visuals of the film are outstanding.  What makes it this wonderful is the aspects of seeing everything take place in the vast wilderness of Tasmania.  This is both awe inspiring and tantalizing.  When the film lets you be captured by the world of this film, you are engrossed by the use of wide camera angles, swooping dynamics, as well as atmospheric detail created by the sounds, colors and lively creation of the environment of this land down under.  Also combined with this is the soothing, and sometimes daunting score.  The music (when used) creates a delicate additional layer to the visuals, helping create an emotional fever.  This makes you want to stay alongside Martin for the hunt, even if it seems dangerous.

Overall, The Hunter is a film that has some pluses, but a lot of minuses.  Willem Dafoe is good as Martin, but there isn’t more to any other character in the film.  The direction is convoluted most the time, but the scenery and music helps counter the disjointed progression.  If you’re looking for a film to pass the time on an afternoon, I say check it out.  In the end, you’re not missing anything if you pass on seeing this film.

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