Everything about “The Hunter” looks great on paper. Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill in lead roles, a cat and mouse (well, hunter and Tasmanian tiger) plot, the “action and adventure” classification, and the exotic locale of Tasmania. Unfortunately, the sum falls short of the potential that these parts promised. Dafoe gives the performance that we hoped for and the cinematography is beautiful, but the script plods along at a snail’s pace, Neill doesn’t add much to the film, and there is a very limited amount of action. It was a struggle to focus because it seemed like nothing was happening for the majority of the runtime. I suppose that if this was labeled as a drama, I would have approached it with different expectations but with a title like “The Hunter,” how could you expect anything less than a Rambo-esque film? The story was interesting and could have been enhanced by a duality of actions in the jungle scenes matched with the drama of the family. The also could have created more intrigue by better incorporating more of the mysterious biotech company. I certainly won’t be revisiting “The Hunter” at any point in my life but it could be worth watching if you love Australia and are looking for sweeping cinematography of the landscape.
[Pictured: Dafoe offers an interesting performance amidst a slow-moving script]