The Hunter (2011) Review

Willem Dafoe is an actor who, despite his craggy features, can alternately play unconventionally handsome leading men as well as near-freakish villains. In Daniel Nettheim’s The Hunter, Dafoe plays Martin David, a mercenary hunter who is hired by Red Leaf, a biotech company, to hunt down and obtain genetic material from the Tasmanian Tiger. The problem is that the the tiger is long thought to have been extinct, with the last known specimen dying in captivity in 1936. Red Leaf wants to obtain the exclusive rights to the Tasmanian Tiger’s genetic material as it could be worth a fortune if the animal could be cloned.

Martin travels from Paris to the Tasmanian wilderness posing as a scientist researching Tasmanian Devils. His presence in the small out-of-the-middle-of-nowhere town immediately is perceived as a threat by local loggers. Anyone who shows up from overseas tends to be working for the “greenies”, environmentalists who threaten to halt the logging industry and therefore cost them jobs. David’s lodging arrangements also give Martin pause as he’s given room and board with a woman named Lucy (Frances O’Connor) and her two precocious children, Sass (Morgana Davies) and Bike (Finn Woodlock).  Lucy’s husband disappeared while doing environmental work in the Tasmanian wilderness the previous summer.

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