You’ve been kidnapped. You wake up gagged, in the middle of countryside. There are others in a similar state to you. You come together in the middle of a field where there’s a crate of guns. You free and arm yourselves, and then the snipers start picking you off one-by-one. You realise you’re are being hunted for sport!
It’s a reality TV show sort of start to the new movie called The Hunt. And it’s a very clever start, as we are not sure who we’re meant to be rooting for. The narrative perspective starts with a group of the kidnapped people, and we instinctively root for the underdog, but they’re all killed off. We follow more of the kidnapped, but then they’re all killed too. It’s properly disorienting… and deliberately so. The viewer feels as turned-around and frantic as those being hunted. It’s immersive and engaging. We implicitly understand how we, ourselves, are manipulated and abused by the rich in society. And it makes us angry, and self-righteous. We might long for revenge, and blood, ourselves.
We come to learn that rich, left-wing elites have decided to teach the right-wing working-class of America a lesson, almost as a form of self-defence. The satire about the entirely partisan and self-defeating politics of modern America may be far from subtle, but it’s certainly effective, and darkly humorous/ironic. And hugely enjoyable, come to that!
There have been a fair few tepid and negative reviews of this movie, but it works extremely well in my opinion. Some have accused it of opting out of any sort of positive morality (in the sort of way South Park used to take the piss out of everyone and every thing)… but that’s to miss the movie’s point, really. The Hunt apportions blame to both sides of the divide. It describes the current state of the factionalised and polarised US, offering clear messages about what’s actually important at the same time. And the movie does understand good from bad: there is no doubt which characters lack morality, and which have been done an injustice.
The reveal (and casting) of the big baddie at the end is perfect. And the very end scenes of the film are a triumph. And it’s also female-empowered. I’d definitely recommend it. It scores an 8 out of 10 from me.