The Hunter piqued my interest when perusing upcoming films on my smart phone's Flixster app. What little bit of story revealed in the trailer provided just enough motivation for me to make a point of seeing this film, but unfortunately its limited theatrical release on 6 April 2012 did not include Chicago.
Nevertheless, I was happy to see this film listed on Amazon's Instant Video, and the $7 rental was well worth it.
Willem Dafoe provides an excellent performance as Martin David, an introverted loner whose cultured tastes in music and finer accommodations seem to contrast with his ability to survive in the violent Tasmanian wilderness. But his technical proficiency and skill as a hunter made him a prime candidate for a dubious and impossible job - hunting down and killing an extinct species of tiger in the mountains of Tasmania.
As he sets out on this futile and illegal task he ends up in the middle of two feuding parties - a sadistic clan of testosterone-laden lumberjacks and the pot-smoking "Greens" trying to shut them down. When David is not hiking the mountains hunting for his prey, he holds up at the home of Lucy Armstrong and her two children. Lucy's husband - a Green himself - went missing several months earlier, and during his stay with the Armstrong family, Martin inadvertently takes on a subtle role as husband and father. As his interest in Lucy and the children grow, his faraway employer becomes concerned with Martin's loyalty.
This moving film dealt with several large themes ranging from people's impact on the environment to the environment's impact on people, but its most powerful and important aspect was its presentation of a standoffish and isolated man grizzled by time, work, and isolation, who is slowly transformed into a self-reflective and affectionate figure for a widowed wife and her two children. When tragedy strikes, the film fleshes out ever more complexity and humanity from David, as demonstrated by his ecologically profound decisions and his tenderness toward those in need.
This was a film - unlike so many others - worthy of the silver screen and I wish its theatrical distribution would have been far wider. Nonetheless, it is available through Amazon, and what better medium to proliferate great stories than the internet?
A powerful and emotional film I recommend highly.