Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Hunter (2011)

At a glance:
The last time I watched a movie that was adapted from a Julia Leigh book, it was the befuddlin Sleeping Beauty (2011), an outrageous fart piece that beggars belief. Thankfully, this one is more accessible. Picked up for 2012 distribution in the U.S. by Magnolia Pictures after the world premiere at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, director Daniel Nettheim's debut is more drama than adventure-thriller; and its posters and trailers mislead. What you get here is an Australian movie about an undercover mercenary (the gritty Willem Dafoe) sent in by some biotech company as a scientist to hunt down the world's last Tasmanian tiger. He rents a room from a troubled woman (Frances O'Connor) while the xenophobic townsfolk try to drive him out.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Sam Neill & Willem Dafoe in The Hunter.
Richard Kuipers review over at Variety got it spot on - that it "maintains an intriguing ambience, but general auds may feel they're not given enough info about the protag to become fully immersed in his journey toward redemption." The movie seems like its missin a few scenes that would've made this a much more satisfyin watch. Throughout the show, one waits for a great movie to happen but it never comes.
Perennial wonderment:
Isn't it simply wonderful those weird animals you get in Australia? You can read that the Tasmanian tiger, also known as the Tasmanian wolf, thylacine or Thylacinus cynocephalus (Greek for "dog-headed pouched one") is an extinct species of carnivorous marsupial. Apparently, it's called a Tasmanian tiger because of the stripes on its back.
Reminds me of:
The woods, the punishin woods.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Love the settin, love the music score, even love the child actors. Some of the wilderness shots really take your breath away. The movie, on the other hand, doesn't really work. I suspect the book holds a wonderfully poetic story and this Alice Addison screenplay doesn't convey it. 
Trailer for the curious:
Bonus material:
When We Were All Younger: Gerard Butler, Frances O'Connor & Paul Walker in Timeline (2003).
Frances O'Connor sure has aged a little since we last saw her in Timeline (2003) with Gerard Butler and Paul Walker. She was a girl-next-door in that one, bra straps all over the place. Now, she's a milf. If only she could land herself some bigger roles, eh.
Frances O'Connor in The Hunter (2011)
Frances O'Connor & Morgana Davies in The Hunter (2011)
Frances O'Connor & Sam Neill in The Hunter (2011)