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I live in Tasmania and I know the country well enough. When I moved here in the 70's it was still considered possible that somehow the tiger had survived in some remote part of the island . Not So. Decades of intensive forestry and clearing and no hints of survival. Still the tantalizing reports occasionally surface. The animal has moved on to pure mythology. Into that scenario comes this beautifully filmed Eco thriller that has a great story line but is also about our beautiful island. The scenes are artfully mixed from various places in Tasmania and the original footage of the tiger is reproduced again for the big screen. How thrilling it was to see that old footage of the thirties (last definite sightings) again.This is the last surviving footage of a peak predator that was not a dog or cat relative but a marsupial and very strange. The film builds slowly and carefully, William Defoe is in a great role which he carries off so well Frances O'Connor and the kids are just entirely in the role! Go see this film if you have the chance and enjoy a beautiful movie I have avoided all discussion of the final 20 minutes go see it and be so surprised!! Its a beautiful and at times tense movie.
Willem Dafoe plays a mysterious loner hired to find the Tasmanian
Tiger, which is considered extinct. The film co-stars two wonderful
kids and the Tasmanian back-country, extraordinarily beautiful.
What's great about this movie is that in addition to telling an excellent story, it is beautifully filmed and, as a bonus, sent my wife and me to the Internet to look up Tasmania and the Tasmanian Tiger, which indeed is considered the most recently extinct animal. So we learned something too! As for the story, sure you can carp and say it's too far-fetched, or too sentimental, or has holes in it (what story doesn't). But it hangs together quite well and is not only multi-faceted but refreshingly unpredictable.
And the wonderful Silence. Few actors can work in silence as well as Willem Dafoe. This may be his strongest-ever performance, his expressive face being his best feature. Many scenes are told in silence, or rather with only the sounds of the back-country and the excellent movie score.
Dafoe triumphs in a movie that is, after all, ultimately about his well-drawn character. After all, it is called "The Hunter."
Best Aussie film I've seen in recent memory. Dafoe as the hunter was brilliant. The children gave faultless, endearing performances and their dialogue (or lack thereof) was totally natural without forced "it sounds like it's coming from a 20 year-old" lines. Frances O'Connor and Sam Neil gave nuanced, layered performances. Tasmania as a 'character' was starkly beautiful and the screenplay well served by its 10 year-development. Every scene propels the story. There were some aspects reminiscent of 'The American' (i.e. sparse dialogue, the 'professions' of the protagonists) which is not a bad thing! 10/10 or 11/10 with the extra 'Aussie' star. t: @michaelclarkin
Damn it's not often I come across an Aussie film that I would recommend
to some one, but this is by far the best Aussie film I have seen in a
long long time. I have lived in Australia for just on 30 years, and
most films and TV series are lame, boring and very forgettable, but not
The scenery is breath taking, great cast, intriguing story line if you know all about the Tassie tiger, haunting music score makes this a must see film. Yes at most parts it is all about the tiger, but the director and good cast get's you really involved with all the characters and story line, it left me with chills at the end, and that's something I look for in a film but don't find that often, and damn I was not expecting it in an Aussie film.
9 out of 10 for me, and it's time for me to go back to Tasmania for a holiday, it's been way to long since last time I was there, and might even have a look around for that tiger.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An elite hunter secretly hired to locate the last Tasmanian Tiger (extinct but, in this film, recently sighted), get genetic samples for a pharmaceutical company and then destroy all traces of it. He soon runs into serious problems. The Hunter takes you into some beautiful country and has a great performance by Dafoe at its centre and while it does offer quite a few reasons to grumble, I am not. I was entertained, I 'escaped', and I was on the edge of my seat when the danger kicked in towards the end. Only after the credits did I really begin to take stock of the defects and by then it was a case of 'while I really enjoyed it, I must say that...'. Basically, some of the characters and their motives etc. are not very well handled, and there are threads left hanging in a slightly messy way at the end. I imagine it was a bit of a rushed underfunded job. But: beautiful landscape beautifully shot; Dafoe's craggy, haunted presence - alone in the wild forests of Tasmania and, almost like some kind of awkward alien, relating to others; a hint of romance, and some cute moments with a couple of lovely children; the compelling main theme of hunting the elusive Tasmanian Tiger; suspense, and a nail-biting final showdown; and the Tiger itself, were enough to keep me happy. All in all, The Hunter is a very good bit of entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Those who see director Daniel Nettheim's excellent film, The Hunter,
will be divided into two camps those who hate it and those who love
I was riveted throughout. If you're looking for a film that is subtle, unpredictable and makes you think, go see The Hunter. This film is every bit as uncompromising and compelling as the rugged Tasmanian landscape in which it was shot.
The Hunter tells the story of Martin David (Willem Dafoe), a gun-for-hire who is enlisted by a mysterious military-based biotechnology firm, Red Leaf, to secretly hunt and bring back samples of the Tasmanian Tiger, a creature with near mythical status which is believed to be extinct. Martin is a fastidious man with few attachments to weigh him down and whose life consists of going from one job to the next. Early opening shots of his hotel room with his handful of belongings lined up meticulously establish a man in whom an almost militant sense of order is ingrained.
In fact, when his contact at Red Leaf arrives late for a key meeting, Martin expresses his displeasure at having been kept waiting at his hotel room for two weeks. Never mind his layover is in Paris. Martin does not have the time or inclination for sight seeing.
From there, the film shifts to Tasmania where Martin discovers his lodgings are far more humble than he had expected. An arrangement has been reached for him to board at the home of a widower, Lucy Armstrong (Frances O'Connor), whose husband, Jarrah, an outspoken environmentalist campaigner with many enemies, went missing some months ago. Lucy has fallen into a depressive slump and when Martin arrives, the house is in a state of complete disrepair and disarray. The only signs of life are Lucy's two inquisitive kids, Sass (Morgana Davies) and Bike (Finn Woodlock) who take an immediate liking to Martin.
I loved Martin's interactions with Sass and Bike. Both child actors deserve recognition for their unaffected, natural performances. One of the pleasures of this film was watching Martin's relationship with them develop. One could appreciate how both attention-starved kids would gravitate towards this resourceful, kind-hearted stranger.
Martin is effectively a mercenary, and it's to Willem Dafoe's credit that he captures the impulses and complexities of the character so credibly. He is politically apathetic at the start of the film, disinterested in the motives behind Red Leaf wanting the DNA and isn't fazed by the war being fought between the loggers, whose jobs are under threat, and the "greenies". He is reluctant to become involved in the lives of others, and is under strict instructions to remain isolated. In fact, after he arrives at Lucy's dilapidated home and is overwhelmed its disrepair and the intrusions of two over-eager kids, he tries to find a room at the local pub, where he is told he is not welcome.
At the same time, Martin is clever and calculating, with the keen instincts of a hunter and is able to defend himself when under threat, as we see closer to the denouement.
Martin brings order into the Armstrong house, fixing the generator, scouring the grimy bath and even dumping the bedridden Lucy into a tub of soapy water and instructing her children no longer allow her access to a cocktail of drugs she has been taking to numb herself: "She doesn't need them any more."
Slowly Lucy returns to the land of living, but not before mistaking Martin for her husband. It's a tension-filled scene at night where she wakes to the sound of a vinyl record of Bruce Springsteen and wanders out to the fairy light strewn trees and she sees Martin playing with her children. Martin is overjoyed at fixing the generator, and the two excited children dance with him outside delightedly.
This is a film full of evocative movements, which all serve to drive the narrative forward and provide insights into the character. For example, there is a genuine sense of menace when the loggers turn up in their four-wheel drives with their high beams on and gatecrash a party being thrown by Lucy, threatening violence if the "greenies" continue their campaigning. It's quite telling that the duplicitous Jack Mindy (Sam Neill) is sitting in the backseat, and his actions later in the movie set off a series of events that end in tragedy.
I also loved the moment where Martin fixes the speakers hung high in the trees and the ecstatic reactions of Lucy, Sass and Bike as the music floods the landscape.
The Tasmanian landscape is a character itself, and I was enthralled by its shifts from lush greenery and stark blue skies, to its forbidding and bleak snow strewn landscapes.
The end is both triumphant and gut-wrenchingly tragic. Martin discovers Red Leaf's unscrupulous motives at the same time as he stumbles on to what happened to his predecessor, Jarrah. Jarrah had been in Martin shoes, but had abandoned his assignment, switched allegiances, married his zoologist girlfriend and paid with his life.
Martin's increasing involvement in the life of Lucy, Sass and Bike raises the ire of a jealous Jack Mindy. It also brings him into conflict with his employer, who calls him to remind him to not become too involved with "the locals".
This is a film, in part, about Martin getting back in touch with his humanity. While Martin has a breezy relationship with the irresistible, talkative Sass, it's the younger child, the loner Bike, who knows more than he lets on, with whom he forms a wordless and poignant bond. The growing attraction between the solitary Martin and the vivacious Lucy was truly believable, and Dafoe and O'Connor have a nice chemistry.
In short, The Hunter is a love letter to the Tasmanian wilderness, an indictment of corporate green and an eloquent entreaty to reclaim what is lost before it's too late.
Amazing, great acting, Willem Defoe is sublime, great cinematography, emotional story, this is a must see. There's a lot of rubbish films these days, I like to watch American TV series as they have huge budgets and have time to develop story lines so things are more satisfying. I think that film making is a saturated market, and most things have been done to death, but it's rare that I see a film that has a clear vision and aim and produces such fantastic results. Willem Defoe has to be one of the greatest American actors alive today, his performance in this film is understated and powerful. There is a sub narrative that is very touching and emotional and very powerful and had me close to tears. I think this is an enigmatic film and really enjoyed seeing Sam Neil playing a part which was so unexpected considering his past performances. A fantastic film for cinema buffs.
It's hard to tell which is more craggy and characterful - the Tasmanian
outback of Willem Dafoe's face. The parallel is clear. Just as the man
- a mercenary called Martin David - goes in search of a rare, precious
animal in the extraordinary landscape, so he also finds his charting
his own soul and its shortcomings.
One of the devices for this is the classical music that he listens to on his iPod. He seems detached from it, as if he needs to play it to remind him of something but he cannot think what. Only the accidental attachment of a family can make the connection for him.
Frances O'Connor as the mother and Morgana Davies as her daughter are at least as good as Dafoe in this picture. Sam Neill also has a role as a morally vacillating local. I found the idea and the storytelling strong. However, there is a slight sense of an intellectual remove, of the company and director well aware of their work and perhaps trying to hard to convey it rather than inhabit it. Still a really good solid film. 7/10
The Hunter speaks of humanity left in a cruel man who was sent on a
different mission. This time he is to hunt down an endangered animal
and then he comes in touch with a wonderful family with kids where he
finds his softness in heart. Film rather starts and moves bit slow but
it just gives the total freedom for the viewer to wonder about. The
plot is unique and I'm sure I have not come across anything similar
before. The landscapes are amazingly beautiful and the story line keeps
you going. I like Dafoes performance on this. And the sweet little
The independent and lonely hunter Martin David (Willem Dafoe) is hired
by the powerful biotech company Red Leaf to hunt down the last
Tasmanian tiger. Red Leaf is interested in the DNA of the animal and
Martin travels to Tasmania alone.
He poses of a researcher from a university and is lodged in the house of Lucy Armstrong (Frances O'Connor). Martin leans that Lucy's husband has been missing for a long time and he befriends her children, Sass (Morgana Davies) and Bike (Finn Woodlock).
When Martin goes to the village, he has a hostile reception from the locals. Along the days, Martin spends his days in the Tasmanian wilderness chasing the Tiger and becomes closer and closer to the Armstrong family. But Red Leaf wants results no matter the costs.
"The Hunter" is a beautiful and dramatic film with an unpredictable and sad plot. The Tasmania landscape is certainly the great attraction of film that is supported by a good story, two lovely children (Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock) and the excellent Willem Dafoe. It is also great to see again Frances O'Connor, who had disappeared from the "big screen". My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): O Caçador" "The Hunter")
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