I just saw The Hunter at its Seattle International Film Festival debut at the Harvard Exit theater. I have always had an interest in Central Asia since doing a senior report on the area in college and as this film is from Kazakhstan I was compelled to check it out. The title of the film from the credits was written in Cyrillic script as "Anshi", not sure where the title here of "Okhotnik" comes from (perhaps one is Russian and the other Kazakh?).
As for the film, the strengths were certainly the cinematography of the natural surroundings of mountains and plains, as well as the close up looks at how the Kazakh people live. One gets a strong feel of their closeness to horses, their pastoral culture, and their food and way of life. It's a powerful anthropological presentation. The voyeuristic peeks at a beautiful young Kazakh woman were also well received by this viewer.
The weaknesses of this film, however, slightly outweighed those positives for me. For one, at times the language (particularly the Hunter) looked dubbed. Was it dual produced in Russian? That looked cheap. Also, the actors were not always up to the task. The young boy character had an annoying look to him, I was almost half hoping he would get put out of his misery. There isn't much of a story, and the actors frequently give poor performances. The director would do well to take a look at other films like Himalaya, Prisoner of the Mountains, Rabbit Proof Fence, or anything by Robert Flaherty for an idea about how to successfully direct non-actors.
Finally, I must apologize to everyone in the theater as apparently I was eating my popcorn too loud. Towards the end of the film this old dude turned around and yelled obscenities at me before taking the lord's name in vain. So much for too polite Seattle!
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?