‘The Hunt’ Review: Guns, Gags and Pigs, Oh My

The hunt

This flick had quite the journey getting to the big screen. Sight unseen “The Hunt” has been mired in controversy, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of a select few. Funny, considering they hadn’t seen the movie, but hey, baseless outrage works well for some.

 “The Hunt,” is directed by Craig Zobel, written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof and stars Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts and Wayne Duvall. The film focuses on a group of strangers who wake up in a remote clearing, dazed, gagged and utterly clueless as to what’s going on.

As they begin getting picked off one by one, it becomes clear that they’re prey in some sick, twisted hunt. The question is, why?

 The controversy surrounding this film stems from certain individuals’ reactions from nothing else but the trailer. This situation kicked up such a fuss that Universal Pictures pulled the film from its original Sept. 27, 2019 release. So here we are, in the year of our Lord 2020, with “The Hunt” free and clear for the world to see and…it’s not that bad. Downright enjoyable.

Obviously, hunting people for sport is bad, but “The Hunt” is not the first to tell this kind of story. It’s also not a sponsorship for the hunting of human beings. The concept is simply a framing device for the movie.

“The Hunt” is a satire, ripping on people from both sides of the political line. The film is less about ideologies and more about how people are terrible regardless of their political views. Being “woke” doesn’t make a good bloke.

The film plays up the idea of how a person’s political identity can be nothing more than a smokescreen masking their superiority complexes and self-righteousness. And it’s d*** funny the way they do it.

The film’s characters, tone, action and dialogue are big and bold. The filmmakers aren’t exactly going for subtlety here. And none are more in tune with the film’s tone than Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank.

They know the exact movie they’re in and play it beautifully, Gilpin in particular. She gives a cracker barrel performance as one of the most likable action heroes of recent memory. Her tooth grinding delivery and spot-on one-liners give us one bad mother-flower with all the makings of an action icon. 

The broadness of the characters and tone may not work for some, but to me, it’s one of the film’s greatest strengths. The straightforward (some may argue simply) characters allow the filmmakers to playfully riff on personalities we see in today’s social sphere.

The fun comes from placing these people inside an action-thriller and watching the sparks fly as the absurdity, blood, mayhem and carnage rips across the screen. There are treats a-plenty for any fanciful action junkies looking for a good time. Solid all around, “The Hunt” makes for a delightfully devious romp.

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