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The Hunt – Movie Review

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The Hunt – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Within the current political climate, both sides have never been more divided. This is especially amplified in the age of the Internet, where everyone has a place to voice their opinion. The Hunt takes the curious approach of making the stereotypical alt-right wingers the heroes of the story, although classifying the characters in this movie as heroes or villains doesn’t feel entirely accurate. Director Craig Zobel and writers Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof mock every political group. A lot of the satire mostly depends on checking off buzzwords often spoken on social media platforms and one wonders how much the film will age a decade from now. The strengths of The Hunt actually come from its action and the central performance.

This is definitely a silly movie and the filmmakers show that right off the bat. They do not flinch on the violence, which is completely over-the-top and gory. Zobel puts together some shocking kills with each one different from the last. This is the sort of violence you might see in a Friday the 13th sequel. That’s the mode The Hunt is operating at. The action chorography is well done, with Betty Gilpin and her stunt double really showing off their fighting skills. Zobel also makes good use of his locations, which range from a forest to a convenience store.

Gilpin delivers a strong performance, portraying Crystal as someone always trying to figure out what’s going on and frequently suspicious. The movie belongs to her as she has the proper deadpan reactions to the craziness of her situation. She also gets to chew her teeth on a monologue where she delivers a variation on the “Tortoise and the Hare” fable. Meanwhile, Hilary Swank has fun at playing the woman orchestrating the titular hunt and Ike Barinholtz provides a few laughs as one of the people pulled into it. Where The Hunt falls a tad short is arguably its most important element, which is the satire and social commentary.

The Hunt is obviously meant to mock the political divide happening in the United States right now. Neither the “deplorables” nor the “liberal elites” are portrayed as necessarily good people, although there is certainly a desire to see Crystal win out over her kidnappers. However, most of it just ends up consisting of a checklist of terms the characters have to say. The satire is completely on-the-nose and not the least bit subtle. There are references to white privilege, snowflakes, the gun control debate and other topical subjects and words that are part of the public discourse. It doesn’t do anything particularly clever or interesting with these. They are just included for the sake of it.

The Hunt obviously exists in the now, but will it just remain a product of the late 2010s and potentially the early 2020s? Long after the current presidential administration has been voted out, The Hunt may be seen as something that could only be made in the current era. That aside, the creative action and violence, along with Betty Gilpin’s lead performance does make it a worthy curiousity. However, after all of the controversy that led to the film’s release being delayed, the irony is the people who decried The Hunt the most might be the most receptive towards it. It’s definitely a movie that will fuel debates, that’s for certain.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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