THE HUNTER is a powerful psychological drama that tells the story of Martin (Willem Dafoe), a mercenary sent from Europe by an anonymous biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger. Local guide, Jack Mindy (Sam Neill) provides Martin with a base camp – the ramshackle home of spirited children Sass (Morgana Davies) and Bike (Finn Woodlock), and their despondent mother Lucy (Frances O’Connor), whose husband, a zoologist, has been missing in the wilderness for months. Keeping his mission to find the Tiger a secret from the family and the local townspeople, Martin’s suspicions are raised when his traps and equipment are sabotaged and he is followed during his solitary expeditions into the harsh country.
The Myths about the Tasmanian Tiger have been around for many years and it was really about time a movie was made that highlights this and it’s also not very often I sit in a cinema and get extremely engrossed into what’s on the screen but with THE HUNTER from the opening shots to the end credits I was. Director Daniel Nettheim
Most of you would think a movie about the Tasmanian Tiger wouldn’t be overly interesting, but when you throw in the always amazing Willem Dafoe and a synopsis as above you are really ticking a lot of boxes. Dafoe brings such rawness to the character of Martin David, from the start he’s focused on the mission at hand to find the tiger but throughout he opens up and builds relationships with the children at base camp. Dafoe really draws you into this film when he’s out Hunting, setting traps, walking around the amazing Tasmanian landscape which cinematographer Robert Humphreys just nailed, the final sequences in the film are just incredible.
Sam Neill plays the local guide who helps Dafoe into the wilderness but also close friend to the family who resides at base camp. Neill delivers extremely well, even though at times I did feel the direction for him was a tad off. The children, Morgana Davies as Sass who we recently saw in the film ‘The Tree’ is an immense talent and sort of reminds me of a young Dakota Fanning and Sass’s brother Bike played by Finn Woodlock in his first feature pulls off the role well.
THE HUNTER is relatively slow in the middle it does drag on a touch, but it doesn’t really deter from the story. The aussie support cast other than the primary really didn’t do much for me either it just seemed like they threw in a subplot when it was really not needed but the musical score is where its at for me, it really does set the tone for the entire film you just have to check out the trailer to get sucked in.
THE HUNTER is one of the Aussie films to catch this year; Dafoe proves his worth in one of his best performances to date.
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. THE HUNTER hits Australian cinemas on the 6th October, check out the trailer here.