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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Hunter [Blu-ray]

 

(Daniel Nettheim, 2011)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Porchlight Films

Video: Magnolia

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:41:41.136

Disc Size: 24,706,089,858 bytes

Feature Size: 17,733,931,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 3rd, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1772 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1772 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary with director Daniel Nettheim and Producer Vincent Sheehan

Making of The Hunter (32:50 in 1080P - 4 segments: The Story, The Characters, Tasmania, The Tiger)

• Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (6:39 in 1080P)

Theatrical trailer (2:26 in 1080P)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A ruthless mercenary with a secret agenda comes to Australia to search for the last remaining Tasmanian Tiger. As his dramatic hunt for the elusive Tiger goes on and he discovers the mysteries hidden within the wild landscape, long-forgotten emotions resurface. Can a human who has led an immoral life find connection and redemption too?

Based on the acclaimed novel by Julia Leigh, The Hunter is a powerful psychological drama that tells the story of Martin (Willem Dafoe), a mercenary sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a dramatic hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger. Directed by Daniel Nettheim, The Hunter stars Academy AwardŽ nominee Willem Dafoe (Antichrist, Spider-man, The English Patient, Platoon), Frances O Connor (Artificial Intelligence: AI, Mansfield Park) and Sam Neill (The Dish, Jurassic Park, The Piano)

***

Martin, a skilled and ruthless mercenary, posing as a scientist sent into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. Hired by an anonymous company that wants the tiger's genetic material, Martin proceeds to set up base camp at a broken-down farmhouse, where he stays with a family, becoming increasingly close to them. However, as his attachment grows, Martin is led down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his deadly mission.

 

 

The Film:

It’s possible to think of The Hunter as a thriller diluted by atmosphere or a mood piece disrupted by plot, but for much of the film’s length, director Daniel Nettheim successfully pitches camp in the razor-thin overlap between the two. Willem Dafoe, who brings brooding storm clouds with him wherever he goes, plays a hazily defined mercenary who takes on a pharmaceutical company’s assignment to hunt down the purportedly extinct Tasmanian tiger. That, naturally, means heading to Tasmania, whose untouched terrain proves more hospitable than some of the locals. Badly (and somewhat implausibly, given his profession) fumbling his first encounter with a handful of outlander-hating rednecks, Dafoe’s “greenie” becomes the target of periodic, unpredictable harassment, which is mostly harmless, but suggests the potential for something far more threatening.

Excerpt from The Onion A.V. Club located HERE

***

What do you get if you cross “Bad Day at Black Rock” and “Picnic at Hanging Rock”? “Bad Day at Picnic Rock”? No, you get “The Hunter,” the most agreeably strange movie I have seen all year.

Directed by Australia-born TV veteran Daniel Nettheim, “Hunter” features American Willem Dafoe as Martin David, a high-priced, highly skilled, Puccini-loving mercenary hired to track down a Tasmanian tiger, a creature we see in black-and-white archival footage and widely thought to be extinct. His job is to kill the creature and harvest its blood, skin and organs for some sinister military biotech company.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Hunter appears only 'reasonable' on Blu-ray from Magnolia. The disc is single-layered with a modest bitrate. I felt contrast may have been the weakest area with black levels seeming to under-achieve. Colors are teal-leaning (even on the cover) and nothing stand out as strong. Overall the image quality looks a little thin and this may be how is was shown theatrically but we will compare to the European BD edition to see if that is more revealing. There is little depth but the presentation is consistent and I very much enjoyed the film - and any transfer weakness didn't hinder that. There is no noise and the video in-motion was smooth.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a modest 1772 kbps. There are some aggressive effects running through The Hunter with rifle shots but the most profound moments might be the silent gaps with our protagonist lurking in the terrain. Dialogue, which is limited, is clean and clear. There is some original music (by Andrew Lancaster, Michael Lira and Matteo Zingales) but it is subtle infused into the action. Overall it seems to support the film accurately using the lossless rendering. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked with a region 'B' release scheduled for later this year.

 

Extras :

Great extras starting with a commentary with director Daniel Nettheim and producer Vincent Sheehan expanding on some of the production details and how it incorporated into the filmmakers vision. Making of The Hunter runs over 1/2 and hour into 4 main segments - The Story, The Characters, Tasmania, and The Tiger and film in more about the film with cast and crew soundbytes. There are also 6.5 -minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary and a theatrical trailer. All supplements are in 1080P.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I thought maybe I wasn't paying enough attention the first time around as The Hunter was very confusing - in a good, atmospheric, way. I'd almost consider this as style over substance except there is a plot - however vague. I really enjoyed it and immediately watched it a third time (after the commentary viewing). Dafoe is fantastic and while you don't know what is going to happen next - you DO know something will. So, great suspense on an odd but intriguing premise. The Blu-ray gave me a decent 1080P presentation and I'll look forward to comparing to it to the UK Artificial Eye release in October - and re-watching the film yet again! 

Gary Tooze

June 8th, 2012


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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