HOLLYWOOD─I see why this movie has been delayed, why it has been so highly controversial. If you’re not certain what film I’m referring to, I’m talking about “The Hunt.” Polarizing is just one of the words that I can use to describe the premise and the way this movie unfolds. Political? Yes! Violent? In ways that you can only imagine! However, this movie has a clever way of toying with the viewer’s mind, to really get you thinking. It reminded me a bit of “The Purge,” but with an elevated twist.
Random strangers find themselves in the middle of nowhere, given weapons and then an onslaught of violence erupts as these strangers find themselves hunted. Who is hunting them? At first, we get the impression that the poor are being hunted by the rich, but then as the narrative unfolds that is not the case. These people weren’t just picked for sport, but each have a specific agenda at hand. Rather it’s someone who hunts animals, politically correct, racists, xenophobic, issues with immigration, the list of reasoning goes on and on, and that is a solid plot point.
For many of the characters, we don’t immediately learn why they’re being hunted until it’s too late; meaning they’ve already exited the screen. Look, “The Hunt” is damn violent and I mean bloody violent. Heads are blown apart, body parts are dispatched. The violence is vicious, brutal and it’s in your face. I will admit I did find myself laughing a bit more than what I ever expected while watching this movie. There are some great one-liners and dialogue here that as a spectator you would NOT expect from such a controversial movie. So let’s talk about that polarizing aspect in the best way possible.
“The Hunt” seems to place a lens on the issue of rhetoric if you ask me. Not just what people say, how they say it and what they do to get their ‘message’ not that I place the work message in quotations. The movie doesn’t really point the finger at Democrats against Republicans or Republicans against Democrats. It is not about liberals against conservatives or the rich solely against the poor, this movie is about dialogue and how it can be dangerous.
It finds a way to ask the question how one’s rhetoric that we preach and its ability take the world by storm and the person begins to believe that rhetoric even if it’s not fully true. As a viewer, “The Hunt” makes you feel conflicted about the characters in this movie and this ideology as a whole. If we’re talking about characters, I loved Betty Gilpin as Crystal Creasey. She is the one woman on a mission to dismantle this group of elitists who hunt and kill people for sport. Disturbing? Yes, but seeing our protagonist if you can even call her that, taking out these people one by one and in vicious fashion continues to drive the mayhem.
Another character worth toting is Hillary Swank, in a villainous role as Athena Stone. She is wealthy, she has money, but she portrays evil in such a way that it is fantastic to watch. I don’t know what it is about watching an actor or actress portray a villainous character that is exciting on the big screen. Swank is not known for indulging in evil characters, but her portrayal of Athena is just delicious, fun and amazing to watch.
I absolutely loved the notion that the audience never gets to see her face until we reach the third act of the film. I didn’t understand why at first, but it makes sense, the filmmakers wanted to build that suspense so when we get the reveal we get to understand the character’s motives a bit more. There is a fantastic and I mean fantastic fight sequence between Crystal and Athena that is hands down one of the best I’ve seen on the big screen in years and I mean years.
I really wish this pandemic didn’t transpire because “The Hunt” is a movie while controversial is damn entertaining, smart, clever and really gets the brain thinking in major ways America.