Film Review: THE HUNTER (2011)

Disclaimer: I don’t plan on making film reviews the norm on this site but because I already wrote about this movie, I’m willing to make an exception.  I also don’t like giving negative reviews, especially for independently financed projects, as I respect the difficulties of moviemaking and I don’t want to steer revenue away from these hard working artists.  However, my audience is intelligent enough to know that this is only my opinion and that their own millage may vary.  So we shall proceed.

Please be aware that SPOILERS will follow, so if you don’t want to ruin your Monet Experience then go watch the movie now (it’s currently playing VOD) and then come back and share your thoughts.

Here is the trailer for the movie:

The Hunter (2011) – Official Trailer HD

The trailer would have you believe it’s a tense thriller, right?  About a man with a rifle, put in jeopardy by a conspiracy of those all around him–plenty of intrigue and suspense, right?  Wrong.  This 1:38 might be the most exciting of the whole 100 minute movie.

Okay, so maybe the problem was with marketing.  Maybe if I knew I was getting into a slow, plodding drama more about unemployed loggers than a Tasmanian tiger hunt, I’d have enjoyed the experience more.  But probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie has its redeeming aspects.  The cast was stellar!  Defoe and O’Conner brought grace and strength.  Sam Neil perfectly blended as a native (IMDB tells me he grew up down-under, so it’s no surprise).  And what a beautiful film; the cinematographer expertly captured the breathtaking scenery.

I actually wish I liked this movie more.  The topic is obviously one that interests me.  But I just couldn’t get behind it.  It strikes me as another in a painfully long line of films that tries to be profound by having nothing happen.  It’s like someone who wants to write a great work of literature, so they decide step one is “don’t have a plot”.

A fellow friend and filmmaker once shared a bit of wisdom with me he learned while making a documentary on the Air Force Academy.  He said, you can’t show the audience that an event is boring by boring them for ninety minutes.  By the same token, I find that if you spend too much time building the atmosphere, you’re left with nothing but that.

So did I miss something?  Or did the filmmakers?

Parallel Development

It’s when two or more people, somewhere in the world, get the same idea without any influence from the other.  And it happens.  It just happened to me.

I opened imdb (The Internet Movie DataBase) today, and saw this:

The Hunter (2011)

For those who’ve read my story The Thylacine, you may know where I’m going with this.

If not, allow me to explain: I wrote a story in early 2010 featuring a man (“The Seeker”) with the exact same goal as this film.  Mine is a story where “A wannabe tracker heads to the land down under in search of the believed-extinct Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine.”  This movie is where “Martin, a mercenary, is sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger.”

Not exactly the same thing, but close enough to make my heart stop.  No, I don’t think I was plagiarized.  No, I haven’t seen this movie or read the book it’s based on (which Amazon tells me was published a decade before I wrote my story, so it’s a moot point from my end).  But as an unproduced writer, it leaves me feeling eclipsed every time I experience parallel development.

What’s to learn from this?  Not much.  Other than, don’t go screaming through the streets that someone stole your idea.  Ever.  It almost never happens.  It may make finding a market for my story that much harder, but I can take some comfort in knowing that I had a very marketable idea.  And for you?  Enjoy the story, enjoy the film, enjoy the book.  I’m sure they’re all three very differently executed, so why not have three different forms of enjoyment?

Official website for the film: