The Hunter review

A reliably watchable Willem Dafoe travels to Tasmania to hunt down an “extinct” carnivorous marsupial but he doesn’t receive the warmest of welcomes.

The Hunter is quite an ordinary film, largely lacking the emotion and tension it attempts to create. It also attempts to utilise Tasmania’s wilds to paint an attractive, unique landscape, and achieves this to an extent although rather unremarkable tight shots could, frankly, be anywhere.

The story of the thylacine, or “Tasmanian tiger”, is interesting and emotive. The animal is a poster-child for man’s raping of nature - a majestic creature that was hunted to extinction so recently that there is a famously powerful video of the last known specimen. It doesn’t, however, provide the basis of a thoroughly compelling human story, at least not in this case and there is even a giant flaw thrown in for good measure: There is an explicit assumption that the single animal the protagonist is searching for is, actually, the very last one of its kind and this is slightly ridiculous because it’s the same assumption, that the last thylacine died 80 years ago, that sets up the character’s journey in the first place.

This destroys the ending of the film, making a rather empty conclusion that is casually broken beforehand anyway by the abrupt ending to the character’s relationships. But there isn’t a lot to care about with these humans and their connections, even if they are supposedly the real heart of the film, because the establishment of this aspect doesn’t reach an especially deep or believable level in the first place.

2 out of 5

10th Jul 2012 | Official site | On IMDb