The Hunter

The Hunter

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Hunters are usually firm of focus and stealthy in their approach, yet although he adopts a slow and steady attitude in his follow up to It's Winter, Rafi Pitts' direction here is more scattergun than solidly on target.

The hunter of the title is Ali (played by Pitts himself) an ex-con who is stuck on the graveyard shift, meaning he doesn't get to spend as much time with his wife and little girl as he would like. To say too much about the story would be to spoil its gradual unravelling, but when tragedy strikes, Ali takes drastic action and ends up being a man on the run.

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This makes the plot sound as though it is a thriller, but despite morphing into something along those lines, the first portion of the movie unfolds in the tradition of arthouse drama. Lots of shots of Ali searching the city emphasise the smallness of the central protagonist, while futile encounters with useless bureacrats also go towards underlining his sense of powerlessness. These aspects could be taken as oblique political commentary, as could deaths at the hands of "insurgents" - surely recalling the slaying of Neda Agha-Soltan during Iran election protests last year - but, as always with Iranian film, nothing is overtly stated.

The biggest problem with the film is not its snail's saunter, but rather the minimalist way Pitts approaches the scripting. Ali is stoic as a rock - and about as easy to connect with. He's so 'inside himself' he is almost unreachable to the audience, although the second portion of the movie allows more of his humanity to shine out. Also problematic is a sudden halfway shift in gear, when following a gripping mountainside car chase through fog - easily the best scene in the film - Ali finds himself caught up in the odd relationship between two policemen. Again, there is oblique political commentary - one cop is dirty, the other only wearing uniform due to the draft - but even this section of the story doesn't really go anywhere of note and the ending proves predictable. Much of the camerawork is striking and there are strong undercurrents here, if you want to consider them, but many will find The Hunter demands too much effort for not enough reward.

Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2010
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The Hunter packshot
A man hit by tragedy takes matters into his own hands.

Festivals:

EIFF 2010

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