“The Hunter” contains the elements of a familiar thriller genre. Man versus nature. This is nothing new. What elevates the material is a performance by Willem Dafoe that is subtle yet powerful.
Dafoe’s character is hired by a corporation to try and track down a rare species of Tiger which was thought to be extinct. They can apparently use the venom it possesses for something in their research. Honestly it does not matter why he finds himself in the wilderness as it is just an excuse for great suspense and character development.
When he arrives in to town he rents a room with a local family that sort of lives a hippy existence in the middle of no where. There Dafoe bonds with two children and helps their mother come out of her sort of medicated coma. Her husband disappeared a year ago looking for the same tiger.
Their scenes together are really the heart of the movie. Everybody shines during the quiet moments.
Dafoe’s search for the tiger has a lot of suspense to it as well. There are some eerie moments and some close calls but none of it is flashy or action oriented.
I think this movie really should find an audience but I also think that it missed a lot of it’s potential. The whole subplot of the corporation is tired. I wanted to get to know this family more and learn more about Dafoe’s character.