The Hunter – Outstanding, subtle slow burner

The Hunter movies
The Hunter movies
The Hunter – Outstanding, subtle slow burner
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I just stumbled onto this in a streaming service I subscribe to and I have to say I loved it.

I’ve never reviewed a movie before but I feel compelled to do in this case because of how much I loved it and because the discussions I’ve read on it make me think that the movie has been misunderstood and underrated.

Firstly I really like the slow burning character driven nature of the move. The name of the movie tells it all, it’s about Defoe’s character, not the company, not the conspiracy, not the toxin or the tiger.

It’s not a movie that is trying to be too clever either. It gives us hints about what could be going on but it doesn’t spell it all out, because the details aren’t important and the viewer can fill them in or simply wonder about them as they like.

The Hunter
The Hunter

Mild spoilers follow…

I’ve worked in Tasmania as a geologist and I think the snippets of tension between environmentalists and forestry (and other) workers, is really accurate.

The beauty of the landscape isn’t fully captured either, but I think this is intentional as the starkness of the presentation is in keeping with the tone of the film and reflects the nature of Defoe’s character.

I once had a very similar experience to one depicted in the film, I was doing field work in the Kimberley, Western Australia for a university and some workers on the massive cattle station we were in came to our campsite at night and fired a shot over our tents.

So the fear and animosity depicted between scientists and workers is real and accurate.

Bigger spoilers to follow….

I loved Sam Neil’s character, I thought he was really authentic as the local whose knowledge of the area and its people were useful to the company.

He seemed to be looking for some affirmation first as a useful guide and also as the one looking after Lucy’s family (I doubt he was aware of how drugging Lucy contributed to the objectives of the company, perhaps for him it just helped maintain his position of importance to the family). Like I said before, the details probably weren’t critical to the story being told.

Defoe’s character too was excellent. Not the one dimensional tough guy hit man of your action movies, he liked to take a bath and took time to clean the bath in Lucy’s home so he could use it.

I thought the solitary nature of his character was something he worked to maintain because it was an occupational necessity. I thought the scene where he was about to go on a picnic with the family was significant.

He felt for the family and was angry that the company had (almost certainly) brought about so much suffering for them in pursuing its goals, but critically at this stage he had still covered up the murder and was willing to steel himself against the hurt he would cause them by abandoning the picnic in order to get on with his job.

But then came the death of Lucy and her daughter and the attempt on his own life. At this stage I was glued to my seat, waiting to see how he would react.

It was well set up with his last conversation with Jack Minty (Neil), when he said that the company would keep sending hunters until they got what they wanted. The ending was well executed, for a moment we thought he might spare the tiger (as our inner greenies wanted him to), then we thought he’d reverted to type and finished his job.

But the final scene made it clear… To massively over simplify the complex motivations of the character, his anger at what had been done to the boy grew too large and he committed an act of vengeance against the company.

I found the ending very satisfying and powerful and the story and characters well developed and meaningful. Perhaps there were a few small holes in the presentation, the moments of action, but these are what you expect from a film focused on telling a story with a minimal budget and for me it’s silly to consider them as detracting from what is, overall, a superb film.

Source: ncstebb-00587 – imdb


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