The Hunt ★★★

"Don't do that. Don't first amendment me. This is a business, not a country."  

*Things are unfortunately looking like this would have been my last theatre outing, on the 12th. Here's hoping things are solved, but it'll inevitably get worse before it improves. Be smart, stay clean.*

Claims of mass division and disgust coming from this hyper-violent political satire are being quite exaggerated. Which, in a way, is exactly the type of reaction the film wanted. The Hunt is a perfectly fun ride through the hellish tribalism dumpster that is social media and all of its so-called "deplorables". And by "fun ride" I mean the type of film that hits the floor sprinting, without a moment to waste before kicking off the massacre; it doesn't shy away from killing any and all without a moments notice, in an energised political Hostel that offers its entertainment in the simple delight of seeing a myriad of numpties relentlessly slaughtering one another till the very end. A political cartoon turned into a bloodfest, this is the film that so accurately and absurdly portrays the exposed biases that so many people have behind their veils of technological anonymity: all without an ounce of ever taking itself too seriously. It's a self-evident and self-branded satire that mocks every party involved. Is The Hunt worth the long-postponed wait? I think it will depend on how much you can discard your own personal beliefs and agenda for two hours, and if the answer is yes, you'll have a laugh at a load of caricatures that shockingly replicate spending a few hours scrolling through social media while listening to NPR. That said, I can see a handful of people unreasonably taking this far too personal, taking offense to what is undeniably just a big joke at the US' state of affairs.   


Not to be mistaken by the Danish 2012, The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelson, The Hunt (2020) is essentially a modern adaptation of Richard Connells' 1924 The Most Dangerous Game short story, spiked with a hint of unexpected Orwellian Animal Farm. A senior directorial effort for Craig Zobel, The Hunt sets up a politically charged concept with a bloody kukri and smoking .45, but one not too dissimilar from the likes of Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, or even a bit of Hostel. Originally titled "Red State vs Blue State", the film pits a group of kidnapped, unsuspecting and unarmed "rednecks" who wake up to find themselves trapped in a game of kill or be killed; they being the prey, and a group of unknown rich "liberal" one-percenter elites hunting them down one by one. I'm not kidding when I say that the whole scandal is referenced multiple times as "ManorGate." The film is very aware of how on the lose it is, opening with a text thread between friends, debating and whining over the political climate of the United States. It's a thread I'm sure plenty of viewers will recognize as one they more than likely had themselves at one point or another. While incredibly fun to see unfold, I think that script relies far too much into the surface level humor, leaving its full potential disquisition on the given topic(s) to be a bit squandered. The script is co-written by HBO darling and sci-fi veteran, Damon Lindelof - of notable LOST, The Leftovers, and Watchmen fame. How this project attracted him, I have no clue, but my best guess is that it seems very in line with what an American take of a Black Mirror episode would be.   


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