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The Hunter

Starring Willem Dafoe and Frances McDormand

A beautifully photographed outdoorsman’s thriller with an environmentalist theme, “The Hunter” takes place in Tasmania, where an American hired gun (Willem Dafoe) takes to the mountains in search of an animal long believed extinct — the Tasmanian tiger. Martin (Dafoe) lodges with the wife and children of a man who went missing months ago in the nearby mountains, possibly on the same quest. The vanished father was an environmentalist who may have run afoul of loggers representing the leading industry in this part of Tasmania, the lush and rural island state off the southeast coast of mainland Australia. As a tiger hunter in Tasmania, Willem Dafoe’s (left) conflicted hero, Martin, finds himself the hunted, as well as “The Hunter,” in this beautifully photographed outdoor thriller, which also stars Sam Neill. Martin soon discovers that he is in danger from both sides — the timber types associate him with the green protesters, while the environmentalists suspect (correctly) that he is using illegal steel traps in the wilderness. Meanwhile, he gets emotionally involved with the family of the missing man: The wife (Frances O’Connor) is a drugged zombie, while her son and daughter are essentially raising themselves in a house with no electricity. A scene in which Martin brings life back to the house by fixing a generator — at which point a record player holding the children’s favorite Bruce Springsteen song lurches into life — is thrillingly strange and poignant, suggesting the outsider has what it takes to shake up this drowsy island. Or maybe the island folk won’t let him. Martin finds himself preyed upon by others, as well as his own self-doubt. Dafoe proves to have the right blend of ruggedness and sensitivity for this conflicted hero. Courtesy: Kyle Smith, New York Post Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Daniel Nettheim
Running Time: 
Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Sam Neill, Morgana Davies
Screenplay by: 
Julia Leigh, Alice Addison, Wain Fimeri

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