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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

The Hunter
Directed by Daniel Nettheim
Magnolia 04/12 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - language, brief violence

Martin David (Willem Dafoe) is a veteran industrial spy who is hired to go to the Tasmanian wilderness to track down a nearly extinct tiger and bring back samples of a poison it uses in killing its prey. Jack (Sam Neill), a local tour guide, finds him a place to stay. When David arrives at his destination, Lucy (Frances O'Connor), the owner of the cabin, is asleep. She has been sinking into a drug-induced stupor following the disappearance of her zoologist husband who was on crusade to slow down the local logging industry from destroying the beauty of Tasmania.

Although Martin is not at ease with children, Sass (Morgana Davies), a smart and sociable girl, takes a shine to this stranger. Her little brother Bike (Finn Woodlock) doesn't speak but communicates through his many drawings. Both kids miss their father and adopt David as their surrogate dad. On his first trip to the wilderness, this skilled hunter sets intricate traps for the Tasmanian Tiger but nothing happens.

Daniel Nettheim, the director of this eco-thriller, keeps the tension at a high point throughout the film as the loggers and the environmentalists clash and the pressure on David increases along with his doubts that Jack is a neutral player in the corporate quest for the invaluable chemical. As the hunter gets more attached to Lucy's two adorable kids, he gets her off her medications and is there to usher her back into the world of parenthood. She is very grateful for the wonderful way in which he relates to Sass and Bike.

When he leaves again for the Tasmanian wilderness, David faces a new and dangerous threat to his mission. And thanks to his feelings for Lucy's kids, he is unsure what he will do if he does come across the Tasmanian Tiger. The Hunter is a mesmerizing drama about a malevolent and lonely man on the verge of a spiritual transformation that might change forever the priorities of his life.


Special features on the DVD include deleted scenes; the Making of The Hunter; HDNet: A Look at The Hunter; and a commentary.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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