The Hunter.

The Tasmanian Tiger.

Not to be confused with Rafi Pitts Iranian movie The Hunter (2010). Daniel Netteim’s 2011 film of the same name is Australian, shot entirely on location on the island of Tasmania and set in it’s rainforests and mountains.  Adapted by Alice Addison from a novel by Sleeping Beauty (2011) director Julia Leigh.

Martin David is a mercenary sent from Europe to the Tasmanian wilderness on a mission to hunt down the last Tasmanian tiger for a mysterious biotech company that wants to clone and sell the Tigers venom, which is said to stun its prey. Local guide Jack Mindy provides David with lodging approved by the biotech company at the run down house of Lucy Armstrong and her two children Sass and Bike. Her husband Jarrah, a zoologist, has been missing for months and Lucy is taking his disappearance very badly, spending her time in bed ‘out of it’ on barbiturates while her children run wild.  Although David’s mission is supposed to be a secret, even from the family, his suspicions are a roused when he finds that his traps and equipment have been sabotaged and suspects he is being followed while on his solitary journeys into the wilds.  Each time he returns from a trip he seems to get closer to Lucy and the kids, which is contradictory to his normal loner persona, making him question the ethics of his mission.  

The Hunter begins to question his mission when he finds himself getting closer to Bike and his family.

Willem Dafoe is every inch the hunter Martin David, a lone wolf with no apparent ties, no friends or family, with the film only hinting at his background but having all the hallmarks of a trained assassin.  Australian actress Frances O’Connor plays Lucy a lonely woman who wants closure before she can move on. Sam Neill is Jack Mindy a man who knows more than he admits.

Lucy begins to come alive again after her husband disappearance.  

The superb cinematography by Robert Humphreys enhances the beauty of the island situated south of the Australian continent. It’s a very deep movie that poses lots of ethical questions that are not necessary answered but strangely this only enhances the enjoyment of this unusually gripping film. One that explores what the director calls the ‘uneasy relationship that has always existed between man and nature.’

Tasmania.