The Hunt is more politically charged than expected. It’s also more cartoony than expected. It’s a sardonically funny thriller that points out hypocrisies of right-wing and left-wing beliefs, and favours extravagantly violent finales over mutual understandings. Cynical, yes; but The Hunt is a really ballsy movie for strapping on a blast suit and barrelling through such edgy, non-partisan material.
It’s best not to attach yourself too much to the story or characters in The Hunt. Most of these characters involved in the film’s manhunt are unlikeable, but only because they’re satirizing the contempt we feel for them. And because some of them serve this sole purpose, screenwriters Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof have no problem dropping them from the story at a moment’s notice. Some early kills, I believe, are even used to mock moviegoing expectations and traditional filmmaking regarding who deserves to be the leaders of this story. When The Hunt finally settles on a main character (whip-smart Crystal played very well by Betty Gilpin), there’s still some unpredictability that lingers; making audiences hang on to Gilpin’s every move and find the appropriate laughs and thrills that thrive underneath Crystal’s no-nonsense behaviour and motives.
Though the film is centred around an outrageously over-the-top battle fuelled by typical classism and political discrimination seen often in movies, the film is rooted in a timely reality by tracing real-life sources; ranging from disturbing imagery and hot button issues and terminology to tabloid and online sensationalism that eventually cross over into watered-down internet memes. While a daunting task, director Craig Zobel (Compliance, Z for Zachariah, and co-creator of early Homestar Runner) tries his darnedest to satirize topical, heady content while also steering clear from a heavy-handed vision. While the results aren’t completely flawless, The Hunt ties itself together into an entertaining but all-too-relatable ride.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie