“The Hunter,” a recent release on home video, puts actor Willem Dafoe in the shoes of a deadly hunter navigating the lush outback of the Australian bush.
Dafoe is a mercenary hired by a military biotech company called Red Leaf. His mission is to track down the last living Tasmanian tiger, a carnivorous critter long-thought extinct.
Red Leaf is paying Dafoe for tissue samples, which means the tiger doesn’t need to be taken back alive.
Tasmania is a remote part of Australia, so between excursions into the wild, Dafoe must rent a room from a local family. The mother and her two children believe Dafoe is a harmless university professor who is studying Tasmanian devils, which are not extinct.
As time passes, the precocious kids grow on the hunter, who learns their father disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the same outback he is traversing.
That brings up some questions: Just how intimately connected is the missing man’s fate to that of hunter? And what consequences will local unrest between conservationists and loggers have?
“The Hunter” is a solid, interesting little film with stunning visuals of Australia. It has a slow start, but becomes more and more engrossing as it unfolds. It’s also multi-layered.
The kids will steal your hearts, and actor Sam Neill will keep you guessing.
The only thing I felt was lacking was more insight into the backstory of the hunter, but if it was handled wrong, that could have been clichéd, so … I’m a fan!
McBrayer’s column appears weekly in the Courier. To watch her reviews, go to www.coastalcourier.com.