The Hunter (2011 Australian film)
Australian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Daniel Nettheim|
|Produced by||Vincent Sheehan|
|Screenplay by||Alice Addison|
|Based on||The Hunter
by Julia Leigh
|Music by||Michael Lira
|Edited by||Roland Gallois|
|Distributed by||Madman Entertainment (Australia)
Magnolia Pictures (United States)
|Box office||$1,051,613 (Australia)
$176,432 (United States)
The Hunter is a 2011 Australian drama film, directed by Daniel Nettheim and produced by Vincent Sheehan, based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Julia Leigh. It stars Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor. Dafoe flew to Hobart, Tasmania for the premiere of the film at the State Cinema.
The film opened to the Australian public in cinemas on 29 September 2011.
Mercenary Martin David (Willem Dafoe) is hired by military biotech company Red Leaf to go to Tasmania and gather samples of the Tasmanian tiger, with further instructions to kill all remaining tigers to ensure no competing organization will get their DNA.
Posing as a university biologist, Martin lodges in the home of the Armstrong family: Lucy (Frances O'Connor) and her two young children Katie (Morgana Davies) and Jamie (Finn Woodlock). Lucy is perpetually benumbed from prescribed medication, taken after the disappearance of her environmentalist husband, Jarrah Armstrong. Speculation surrounds Jarrah's disappearance, particularly with regards to a longstanding conflict between the local loggers who are in desperate need of jobs, and the 'greenies', a group of environmentalists who have set up road blocks to the forest to prevent its deforestation. Martin goes into the bush for twelve days at a time, setting up various steel traps and makeshift snares, while waiting patiently to see if a tiger will surface. During his short stays at the Armstrong's to resupply, Martin slowly befriends the children, and discovers that Lucy's medication is delivered to her by Jack Mindy (Sam Neill), who has been unofficially looking in on the family. Martin confiscates Lucy's medication, and bathes her while she is unconscious, after realizing the detrimental effects of her dependency.
During one return from the bush, Martin finds Lucy has recovered from the symptoms of her addiction. Jamie provides Martin with a clue as to the tiger's whereabouts: a drawing of the tiger near trees and small bodies of water. From the drawing, Martin is able to deduce the tiger's location on his map. On his next trip out, Martin stumbles across Jarrah's skeletal remains and discovers that he had been shot through the head. Martin gives him a proper burial, but does not reveal his findings to the Armstrong family. On his return to the Armstrong house, Lucy informs him that Red Leaf had initially contracted Jarrah to locate the tiger, a pursuit he eventually abandoned in favor of taking up an environmental cause to protect wildlife and that Red Leaf wanted Jarrah to find the tiger because they believed that it had a paralyzing venom in its bite.
While hiking to check his traps, Martin is ambushed by a rival Red Leaf operative sent to replace him. The man binds Martin's hands and instructs Martin to lead him to the tiger's cave, but Martin instead leads the operative past one of his steel traps. The operative steps on the trap, and its metal teeth bind his leg. The operative drops both rifles. Martin frees his hands, picks up one of the rifles, and kills the operative just as the operative frees himself from the trap and lunges for the other rifle. Martin returns to the Armstrong residence to find it burnt down. Confronting Mindy, he learns that Lucy and Katie had perished in the fire that broke out by accident, but Jamie survived and was taken by the authorities. Martin sets out into the bush once more to find the Tasmanian tiger and put an end to Red Leaf's pursuit. He finally finds the creature and reluctantly shoots it, then proceeds to cremate it in order to remove all traces of its existence.
Martin returns to town and calls Red Leaf, informing them that what they are looking for is "gone forever". He then goes to a school where Jamie sits alone on a bench. When Jamie sees Martin, he runs excitedly toward him and the two embrace.
- Willem Dafoe as Martin David (the Hunter)
- Frances O'Connor as Lucy Armstrong
- Sam Neill as Jack Mindy
- Morgana Davies as Sass (Katie)
- Finn Woodlock as Bike (Jamie)
- Jacek Koman as Middleman
- Callan Mulvey as Rival Hunter
- John Brumpton as Publican
- Dan Wyllie as Pool Player
- Sullivan Stapleton as Doug
- Jamie Timony as Free
- Dan Spielman as Simon
- Maia Thomas as Shakti
- Marc Watson-Paul as Jarrah Armstrong
- Mark Hennessy as Martin Stunt Double
Filmed entirely in Tasmania, locations include:
- Central Plateau
- Hobart International Airport, Cambridge
- Hotel Grand Chancellor foyer, Hobart (as Paris airport hotel)
- Lenna of Hobart, Battery Point (as Paris hotel room)
- National Park Hotel, Mount Field National Park
- Moonah Primary School, Moonah
- Mount Wellington
- Upper Florentine Valley
- Westerway General Store, Westerway
The film received generally favourable reviews from most critics, and currently holds a 69% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.4/10, based on 85 reviews. On Metacritic, the film holds a 63 (out of 100), based on 15 critics. Kim Newman from Empire gave the film immense praise, calling The Hunter "a slow-burning, beautifully shot, and highly understated philosophical thriller".
Awards and nominations
|AFI Members' Choice Award||Vincent Sheehan||Nominated|
|Best Direction||Daniel Nettheim||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Alice Addison||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Willem Dafoe||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Frances O'Connor||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Sam Neill||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Morgana Davies||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Robert Humphreys||Won|
|Best Music||Matteo Zingales||Won|
|Best Sound||Sam Petty||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Steven Jones-Evans||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Emily Seresin||Nominated|
- Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 66. ISBN 978-1908215017.
- "Willem Dafoe: Tassie Tiger Hunter". 702 ABC Sydney. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- Hoggett, Craig (29 September 2011). "Dafoe's star shines on Hobart". themercury.com.au. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- Wigney, James (25 September 2011). "The Hunter enchanted". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- Martin, Hannah (5 September 2011). "Roll out the red carpet". themercury.com.au. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- "The Hunter (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- "The Hunter". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- Newman, Kim (7 July 2012). "The Hunter". Empire. Retrieved 4 February 2013.