Saturday, 18 April 2020

Film Review: The Hunt

Craig Zobel's The Hunt has been branded the 'most talked about movie of the year'; but was deafening discourse worth the oxygen? 

Snobbish liberals kidnap salt-of-the-earth blue collar Joes from the ‘flyover States’ and hunt them for sport on a remote woodland estate. That’s the core concept behind Craig Zobel’s political satire The Hunt, which sparked a fiery rebuke from President Trump last year and has been mired in controversy ever since.

However, and this may come as a surprise, that online firestorm was entirely misplaced and misguided – not unlike a lot of what Trump spouts on Twitter. The commander-in-chief’s core complaint was that Zobel’s film glorifies the killing of MAGA wackos, which it definitely does not. In fact, both sides of the political spectrum get a pasting in The Hunt, and this is largely down to the broad brush Zobel and screenwriters Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof (HBO’s Watchmen, The Leftovers) are painting with.

The Hunt isn’t a razor-sharp scalpel that delicately peels back the layers of contemporary political discourse; it’s a blunt instrument that knocks you over the head with punchy action, schlocky gore and plenty of heightened drama. It’s a garish blunderbuss pointed in our direction, and if you get hurt in the crossfire, that’s on you. It is packed to the rafters with abrasive internet lingo, with phrases like ‘globalist cuck’, ‘liberal elite’, ‘deplorable’ and ‘deep state’ bandied around without abandon. Even Sean Hannity gets a mention.

Cutting through the bullshit is a strong lead performance from Betty Gilpin (Netflix’s Glow), who plays Crystal, a steely shotgun-wielding survivor.

Gilpin serves as an exasperated audience POV, groaning and rolling her eyes at the colourful weirdos who surround her – played by the likes of Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Sturgill Simpson and Wayne Duvall. Playing a psychotic villain, Hilary Swank is a notable A-list inclusion – but she feels miscast.

The Verdict: 6/10

An interesting contemporary spin on The Most Dangerous Game or Battle Royale, The Hunt is a serviceable 90-minute thriller that packs a punch but lacks nuance.

It’s the cinematic equivalent of a giant middle finger at both ‘woke’ culture and far-right trolls, so much so that you don’t know whether to laugh, cry or cringe. A bit like reality, to be honest.

The Hunt is available in Australia now via the digital video rental platform of your choice.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen it and probably won't just because I was never interested in the first place, but the marketing for this movie is amusing. They really tried to big themselves up when in reality I don't think many people care about this film to begin with.



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