Hunter Hunter (2020)

As a rogue wolf prowls around their home in the wilderness, a family works as best they can to survive winter. When the father has to go hunt the wolf, the mother and daughter are left to deal with what is there for them, waiting and preying.

Written and directed by Shawn Linden, Hunter Hunger is a really slow burn with not a ton going on up until the last little bit of it. Which means it’s the kind of film where the viewer has to get into it proper to not give up before the end. Here what grabs the attention is unfortunately not the story or how the struggle of the lifestyle is show, but thankfully the lead performances. The film is not badly written or directed it’s just an extra shade of slow that takes patience and a lot of attention span to stick with. Once there is done, there is something here to reward the viewer with the performances as said before.

"The Revenant." Leonardo DiCaprio chose to devour a raw slab of bison's liver, even though he is vegetarian. He also had to learn to shoot a musket, build a fire, speak two Native American languages (Pawnee and Arikara), and study with a doctor who specializes in ancient healing techniques. DiCaprio calls it the hardest performance of his career.

The lead here may seem to be Devon Sawa’s, but while he does really good work here, the real shining star is Camille Sullivan as she gets most of the screen time and shows that she is a top notch actress with how she portrays the struggle matriarch, giving her more than just one dimension and thus getting more than just pity from the viewer. She has a way of playing complex women that works great for her every single time. She’s the main reason to stick with the film and to make it through the longer sequences. The way she fights for her family, for their livelihood and more, is what is the most important here. Sullivan turns in stellar work and makes it look effortless. Playing her daughter, Summer H. Howell shows that she also has fantastic chops. The cast here is good and sometimes great, giving the film something to keep the viewer invested when the story may take a few meandering detours.

"The Theory Of Everything." Eddie Redmayne met with Stephen Hawking only once before filming. "In the three hours I spent with him, he said maybe eight sentences," recalls Redmayne. "I just didn't feel like I could ask him intimate things." Therefore, he found other ways to prepare for the role. He lost about 15 pounds and trained for four months with a dancer to learn how to control his body. He met with 40 ALS patients, kept a chart tracking the order in which Hawking's muscles declined, and stood in front of a mirror for hours on end, contorting his face. Lastly, he remained motionless and hunched over between takes, so much so that an osteopath told him he had altered the alignment of his spine. "I fear I'm a bit of a control freak," Redmayne admits. "I was obsessive. I'm not sure it was healthy."

Something not to be forgotten here is the atmosphere created by the cinematography by Greg Nicod and the music by Kevon Cronin. Their work comes together to help the story and make the film a bit more than just the total of its added parts. The film looks and sounds great, so it’s never a struggle to see what is going on and it’s always easy to keep up with things through good images and their accompanying music helps set the tone just right. Hunter Hunter is a slow slow, super slow burn of a film. It has a surprise in store that won’t be spoiled here, but some need to be warned as it will be shocking to some and it takes a family drama and turns it on its heels to give it a brutal aspect that some will find too little too late, some will love, and some will absolutely hate. While it felt like the film needed a jolt of something, this may not have been the right jolt given how long it takes to get it and how almost completely opposite to the rest of the film it is. While Hunter Hunter is a decent watch, it may suffer from its want and need to lull the audience to then attempt to shock them.

George Lucas’ Dog Inspired Chewbacca. The creator of the Star Wars world would drive around with his large Alaskan Malamute in the front seat of his car, which he described as “bigger than a human being and very long-haired.” The affection he felt for the dog was what gave him the idea for the connection between Han Solo and Chewbacca. (Fun fact: He was named Indiana.)