More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. First up, “The Hunter,” an eco-themed thriller starring Willem Dafoe.
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Writer: Alice Addison, Wain Fimeri; based on a novel by Julia Leigh.
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor
Official Synopsis: “‘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.”
Festival Pedigree: Toronto Film Festival 2011, Pusan Film Festival 2011, Rio de Janeiro Film Festival 2011, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012, Luxembourg City Film Festival 2012, South by Southwest 2012
Megan Lehmann, The Hollywood Reporter:
“More than a showcase for Dafoe’s singular mug.”
“A couple of jarring shifts in tone distract from what is otherwise a slow-burning film about a man at war with himself and his prey.”
Steven S., Filmscope:
“Dafoe’s frequent trips back into the wilderness show off some nice cinematography that creates contrasting moods of serenity and menace.”
“Some films are good, some films are bad, and some are terribly frustrating to write about. Daniel Nettheim’s ‘The Hunter’ fits strongly into that last category.”
“It would be far more interesting to see how a man confronts his loneliness and identity in the wilderness as both the hunter and the hunted than to see how no man is truly an island if he has a warm bath and the love of someone else’s wife and kids.”
“The Hunter” is now available on VOD and iTunes.