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63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: The Hunter is the story of Martin, a skilled and ruthless mercenary sent into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. Hired by an anonymous company that wants the tiger's genetic material, Martin arrives in Tasmania posing as a scientist. He proceeds to set up base camp at a broken-down farmhouse, where he stays with a family whose father has gone missing. Usually a loner, Martin becomes increasingly close to the family; however, as his attachment to the family grows, Martin is led down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his deadly mission. [Magnolia Pictures] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Apr 5, 2012
    90
    The Hunter never declares who is good or bad or right or wrong. And the implications of Martin's decision when the moment of truth finally arrives are left for the viewer to unravel.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Apr 27, 2012
    88
    To keep serious cinema from going extinct, this could be sold as "The Hunger Games" cross-bred with "The Lorax," but it's better and more mature than either of those hit movies.
  3. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 6, 2012
    75
    Dafoe proves to have the right blend of ruggedness and sensitivity for this conflicted hero. The actor's habit of maintaining a lavishly styled coiffure in all situations, even when his character is meant to be sleeping in the rain for days on end, is becoming distracting, though.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Apr 12, 2012
    63
    At the core of the movie is the message that the real lonely hunter is the heart.
  5. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 14, 2012
    63
    The Hunter works best as a travelogue and a thought-piece about the ugly, shadowy side of resurrecting dead species.
  6. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Apr 12, 2012
    63
    By the time The Hunter jettisons its narrative ballast altogether and embraces its elemental appeal, it's too late. The near-mythic grandeur of its final scenes is less a welcome payoff then a suggestion of the truly striking film that might have been; it's ironic that a movie about a man who sets traps for a living would itself end up ensnared by formula.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 5, 2012
    40
    The idea of Willem Dafoe, one of our most watchable actors, playing a man stalking a thought-to-be-extinct animal in the wild is gripping in theory. In execution, however, The Hunter loses its way.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Feb 17, 2013
    9
    It's rare to to watch a film that reaches into the soul of the viewer to nip and prod at the insecurities and emotional journeys that have been taken, but The Hunter, through a metaphorical sight, does exactly that.
    Willem Dafoe delivers an unforgettably incredible and gripping performance under his cover alias of Martin David, a sort of undercover mercenary who has been hired and sent to the one of the last remaining great wilderness, Tasmania, by a mysterious company looking for the last remaining Tasmanian tiger, believed to be extinct.
    As we kick off with Martin receiving a frosty reception from the town folk, he is met with the hospitality of a mother and her two children, who have been reeling after the disappearance of their father.
    Martin sets off into the sprawling forestry, and this is truly where the film finds its feet, this is a test of survival, and a personal battle of wits and questions of life choices as Martin is increasingly the victim of mysterious anomalies within the secluded land
    He grows increasingly close to the family he is staying with, as they are dealing with their missing husband/father, and hardship from the people in the town due to their lifestyle.
    The cinematography of The Hunter is on a scale that could match any epic blockbuster, its beautiful panning shots with a widescreen view of the Tasmanian wilderness, along with the quieter and isolated moments involving Dafoe and his gun are some of the best scenes of the film, and thus solidifying Dafoe's performance as flawless even more.
    The film ultimately paints an abstract picture, basically meaning that we are not quite sure who is right and who is wrong, what is good and what isn't. It isn't a straight-up catch your prey film, but one with a thoughtful and emotional, detailed and gritty story, that buy the time the climax rolls around, Dafoe is menacing as a man now out to survive, out to live, but most of all, out to finish his work and make peace with whatever demons have haunted him. The drama between the family and the wilderness truly sets this film apart from any other, with stellar supporting performances from Frances O'Connor and Sam Neill, a journey that will leave many surprised at the scope of this film, but the underrated brilliance of its depth, easily one of the best films to arrive in the last few years with one of the most memorable standalone performances from Dafoe.
    Tragic but thrilling, gritty, cold, but easily captivating.
    Expand
  2. Jun 22, 2012
    9
    this is a really great movie. great acting from Dafoe, writing, directing. the cinematography is especially stunning, they filmed on location and used wide pans of Tasmanias' landscape. the tone and atmosphere was also very well done, because of the lack of dialogue and the look of the movie you get a very mysterious fell throughout, also every scene has Dafoe in it (if a remember correctly), so we only see what he sees. there were however some problems with the kids character, i didn't feel like they were thoughtfully written, they seemed incomplete, particularly how they were so upbeat seeing that their father had been missing for weeks and there mother wasn't altogether there. but one could argue that we only see what the hunter sees, which might not be an accurate representation of the charterers. all in all, i think this is a great movie if you don't mind slow movies with many scenes featuring only one actor and little dialogue, if you don't then you'll find this movie very boring. basically if you enjoyed The American with George Clooney (which is very similar to this) then you will enjoy this movie. ps. there is a scene after the end credits that answers a question (but also creates another). Expand
  3. Jul 9, 2012
    8
    Daniel Nettheim is the director of The Hunter and what a great showcase for his talent this film is. What makes this film a showcase for Nettheim is the beautiful cinematography. The solitary forest scenes have a tentative, naturalistic beauty that leaves you in awe.The pacing of the film is almost consistent throughout the film. It gets a bit choppy when Dafoe Expand
  4. Oct 12, 2012
    8
    This might be a very personal view, but I loved the great acting and the calm, but deep atmosphere of this movie. Not all storylines may finally be resolved as the viewer wished to, but this is still very fine work. Expand
  5. Apr 6, 2012
    5
    Though "The Hunter" has an aptly casted protagonist, Willem Dafoe, as fitting for the film as any actor, it fails to consummate any real solution; audiences are left waiting for the hunt through inquisitive lens, are briefly interrupted with forays into detractingly impertinent melodramma (the remote farmhouse with a grieving drug-addled mother and her two vexatious children), and then are met with poetic, philosophical, and transcendental overtones, which although are redeeming, feel forced and ultimately come too late. What television director, Daniel Nettheim, gets wrong is that he leans too heavily on the flinty, chisel-featured Dafoe, who single-handedly dominates the film's action, with no support from anyone else but Sam Neil, who is confoundingly given too inconsequential a role--he deserves better. As mentioned, Dafoe is great, again solidifying his prowess as a physical actor; he is so engrossing to watch, one can't help but wonder if his maniliness--gathering wood for fire, preparing traps, and taking aim at targets--can be made into his own television show; he's more rugged, raw, and untamed than other reality-TV survivalists. But, perhaps the most captivating element of 'Hunter' is its astounding cinematography from Robert Humphrey, who wonderfully captures the Tasmanian frondescence; the lush Tasmanian buttongrass and enchanting mountain peaks serve as effective backdrops to the increasing unease and dread. Overall, "The Hunter" is an ecological think piece that is aided by a strong lead and wonderous landscape, but suffers to actualize itself into anything but, "what if..." One is likely to leave the theater changed, thinking about it long after the credits have rolled, but such contemplation can't be had without a heaping sense of displeasure over the film's concluding irresolution. Put briefly: "The Hunter" is lean. Expand

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