Watched Apr 06, 2012
Matt Shiverdecker’s review:
Willem Dafoe is ridiculously badass in this Australian thriller based on the novel by Julia Leigh (who made her own foray into film with last year's creepfest Sleeping Beauty). Dafoe plays Martin, a highly trained mercenary who is hired to go on the hunt in the Australian Outback for a Tasmanian Tiger. After alleged sightings of the animal, thought to be extinct, Martin begins a journey to find what may be the last living creature of its kind in existence and bring back DNA so that it can be cloned. There's big money to be had if he can achieve this goal, but he gets a lot more than he bargained for in the process.
Dafoe is an engaging lead, as always, but the supporting cast (especially Sam Neill along with child actors Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock) really help flesh out the story and elevate it beyond your typical action movie. This is the second feature film for Daniel Nettheim, whose background is mostly in Aussie television. With The Hunter, he manages to tell an edge-of-your-seat thriller that also is unexpectedly moving. I have to imagine at least part of that comes from the fact that the source material and screenplay were written by women.
Shot entirely in Tasmania, this film screened last month at SXSW and is currently available on-demand as one of Magnolia's "Ultra VOD" titles.