The Hunt made huge news back in August of 2019 when it was delayed following two mass shootings in America, and criticism from the US President who claimed that it stoked violence and aimed to cause chaos. This was because of the highly political nature of the film, with right wing “deplorables”, a reference to a quote used by Hillary Clinton, being hunted by a faux liberal elite.
Before anyone ever saw The Hunt there were accusations from both sides of the political spectrum that it was in favour of the other side and attacking them. Well now the film has finally been released we can actually see where the film stands. And that is very much not taking any side. The Hunt frames both sides of the political spectrum as awful, but rarely takes its own stance, with the only likeable character in the film never being shown to have any real views of her own. In the end this big political satire just winds up being a bit toothless without much to actually say meaning that it just doesn’t really work very well.
However The Hunt is also an over the top action thriller, and a very violent one at that. And not violent like the Saw or Hostel films, but ridiculously violent in a way that reminded me strongly of Tarantino’s films. It is darkly comic in how the violence is portrayed in the same way Tarantino’s films often are. The action comes in two main stages. First in the hunting of the “deplorables”, and then as the main protagonist of the film, Crystal, begins to fight back. The final action sequence of the film is great as well, and all brilliantly done by director Craig Zobel.
Betty Gilpin stars are Crystal, and after the early wave of action she’s the focus for the rest of the film. And it is a strange performance. There can be no doubt that she nails the physicality needed for the role, and always does a great job in the action sequences, but Crystal feels like a conflicted character. When she’s quiet and brooding Gilpin actually does a great job, but there are times where she goes way over the top. Now it feels like that might have been in the writing or direction of the film, but whatever the reason it feels out of place with her character most of the time. Everyone else in the film is fine, with most only appearing in a few scenes, although it was nice to see Glenn Howerton in a film production, even if he’s essentially playing Dennis but rich.
Honestly it really doesn’t feel like there was much in The Hunt that required it to get delayed like it did. The attempts at political satire just aren’t noteworthy enough, and the action and violence isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.