The Hunter

"Excellent"

The Hunter Review


Chillingly well-made but also somewhat vague, this Iranian drama explores modern life from a very dark angle. Moody and rather depressing, it's also haunting and utterly involving right to the bitter end.

Desperate for a job, Ali (Pitts) settles for a night watchman position that at least gives him time to spend with his wife and 6-year-old daughter (Hajjar and Yaghoobi). But when they go missing one day, his life turns upside down. As an ex-con, Ali feels like he has nothing left to live for and takes out his anger and frustration in a very nasty way. Soon he's on the run from two cops (Madahi and Mazinani) who take very different approaches to their job.

Writer-director Pitts creates a vivid atmosphere on screen, with dense cinematography by Mohammad Davudi and a startling sound mix that layers the ambient noise to maximum effect then punctuates the film with key gunshots.

It's skilful filmmaking, and it puts us right into the skin of Ali, taking us on an almost overpoweringly emotional journey. And as an actor, Pitts reveals Ali's inner feelings with almost no dialog at all.

The film's final act is much more difficult, as Ali and the two policemen are lost in the woods, engaging in a tense discussion of morality that contrasts raw pragmatism with the rule of law. One of the cops loves his job and is clearly the kind of man who takes bribes and metes out rough justice, while the other guy is only completing his national service and can see a bigger picture.

Their conflict echoes earlier scenes in which people react to news of the upcoming general election. Indeed, Ali's wife and daughter were caught in a clash between police and demonstrators.

In other words, there's rather a lot going on in this film, even though the dialog is minimalistic. Ali barely says anything at all, and yet he's a remarkably complex character we can really feel for, even when he does something inexplicable. And the contrast between the murky morality of the big city and the foggy confusion of the rural forest is striking. We may not quite understand everything that happens, but it gets us thinking. And it really lingers.



The Hunter

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 6th October 2011

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Porchlight Films, Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Screen Tasmania, Fulcrum Media Finance, Madman Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Fresh: 60 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rafi Pitts

Producer: Thanassis Karathanos

Starring: as Martin David, as Lucy Armstrong, as Jack Mindy, Morgana Davies as Sass Armstrong, Finn Woodlock as Bike Armstrong, as Middleman, as Rival Hunter, as Pool Player, as Doug, Jamie Timony as Free, Maia Thomas as Shakti

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