Individually, at some point, we are the last of our kind
Directed by: Daniel Nattheim
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor
Watching the trailer for this film, the thought of seeing Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill in the same frame was convincing enough to watch it. Dafoe plays Martin, a mercenary hired by Red Leaf to hunt an extinct animal: Tasmanian Tiger. The biotech company is unknown to the world but only to him and his buyers. He travels to the forest of Tasmania in Australia to seek such a rare beast, while being housed in an unusual location below his normal standards. Calling himself a scientist sent by a University, Jack Mindy (Neil) houses him with a local family that lives close enough to the forest. The mother (Francis O'Connor) is left depressed on meds when her husband goes missing in the woods. The kids, young girl and younger brother keep Martin company during his stay.
The only time the movie ever works effectively to deliver its message is when Dafoe's character heads up to the woods. We see man against nature; a primitive trip where the man sets up traps for a creature thought to be extinct since the late 1930's. With beautiful captured shots by director Daniel Nattheim, the wild of Tasmania comes to life as an untouched land. Its always rare to see natural habitats not yet soiled by corporate tycoons and waste. When the character returns to the house, it gets a little uncomfortable. The main narrative is Martin in the forest searching for an extinct breed, but once he returns to the real world, getting some humanism into the mix feels strange. There is no order in the house and for a man who's mainly a loner, learns to adapt to his new environment.
It's interesting because after you finish the movie, the message hits you like a sniper bullet. As a mercenary, he's basically the last of his kind, thus, a creature hunting the same prey. Like any last remaining species on the planet, they are dominant in being able to adapt to their new environment to survive as a last one. You get a redemption story too along the way but that would be too of a spoiler than I've already leaded on. Lately, there's a moment where martin is viewing an authentic video of a Tasmanian Tiger in captivity, which is like the character is looking at himself in the mirror.
Like my father always says when watching a movie with Dafoe, the man can make any character look good no matter what the movie. Nothing has ever been truer. The movie can be complete failure in all aspects, but with Dafoe, he's fresh and never disappoints. Also a great addition is the man Sam Neill, who presence in film or TV is always welcome in my eyes ever since Jurassic Park. Hell, I was excited when he was in Daybreakers. The man needs more silver screen work
Overall, with great scenery and a terrific protagonist, The Hunter is enjoyable, in whatever way you decided to see it, critically of course.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.