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The Hunter (2012)

Updated on May 30, 2012
Willem DaFoe as the hunter
Willem DaFoe as the hunter

It came as something of a surprise that Australia has an actual forest, but it does. And the film "The Hunter," takes full advantage of the lush scenery. The film is an Australian production. At last check, NetFlix wasn't carrying it, but I located this worthwhile movie on Amazon for a kind of pricey download -- which is what I did.

Brief synopsis: Willem DaFoe is hired by the "Red Leaf" corporation to track down the probable last remaining Tasmanian tiger on the planet, as the corporation believes it can develop new bio-weapons based on the animal's unique DNA.

DaFoe takes the job but nothing goes smoothly. His accommodations are with a small, but intrusive family. He looks for lodgings elsewhere but can't find any. The family consists of a mother with two children -- a young boy and girl. The mother appears to be negligent in her duties, due to a dependency on pharmaceutical prescriptions (i.e., she is passed out through nearly half the film). Reluctantly DaFoe steps in to do the essentials. He bathes the wife and keeps the kids fed. All of this is mere distraction from his primary mission. But, not entirely. Each effort he makes in helping them brings him closer emotionally. He makes periodic trips into the highlands, finally coming across a cave that is a likely den for the Tasmanian tiger. But there is no mistaking the fact that someone else is on the same hunt -- someone that is spoiling DaFoe's traps and leaving behind other calling cards. One primary suspect is the father of the abandoned family -- since his son uses stationery with the Red Leaf corporation logo on the reverse side. The locals, including Sam Neil, figure that the missing husband had an accident while hunting and is probably dead.

Frances O'Connor
Frances O'Connor
Other locals are not keen about the presence of DaFoe, looking upon him as an outsider and disruptive element. He tries to pass himself off as a mere scientist, but the jolly band of disbelievers add another level of misery to his list. DaFoe returns periodically from his hunting excursions, and finds himself becoming more attached to the lonely family. The family also seems to reignite his more human side. One of my favorite scenes is when DaFoe, using his iPod and couple of old speakers (which he hangs from a tree outside) creates this wonderful burst of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" into the open air. It's a great moment because the movie tends to be fairly dark and unnerving.

Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil
Willem Dafoe and Sam Neil
Without providing some real spoilers, all I can say is that DaFoe is correct that someone is not only hunting the Tasmanian tiger but himself as well. The family into which he had slowly ingratiated himself does not end up doing so well. And, yes, he finally meets up with the elusive Tasmanian tiger but the confrontation does not go as one may suspect. Despite its hard-ass over-tone, "The Hunter" goes well beyond that, making it a heartfelt drama most people should enjoy. This is no Rambo-type movie -- far from it. Willem DaFoe was not cast in the lead role for his good looks and charm, but for his range of acting ability, and the casting crew definitely made a very good choice.

Willem DaFoe in "The Hunter"
Willem DaFoe in "The Hunter"

Movie Trailer


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    • calyxxx profile image

      calyxxx 5 years ago from Slovenia

      Thanks for review! Haven't seen this one yet. I love to watch movies starring Willem Dafoe. He's such a great actor!

    • Arbsy profile image

      Arbsy 5 years ago from Canada

      I need to check this one out, great review.