The Story of Misfits: The Hunters

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 © Sinem Dinçer (CineMarkaj, 20.01.2012)

hunters1The Hunters, a 2011 release, has not yet been shown in the the­atres in Turkey, yet it can be ordered online in DVD for­mat. The script is writ­ten by Michael Lehman and the film has been directed by Chris Bri­ant.

“You can­not know what sor­row is, unless you expe­ri­ence the hap­pi­ness, can you?”

The story starts on the week of the Christ­mas Eve, in an aban­doned old cas­tle named Fort-Goben. Four friends (Ronny, Oliver, Stephen, William), feel­ing dread­locked from the wild urban life, spend their week­ends to “ relax”, in a sub­hu­man way, in this castle.

Fort-Goben is an intim­i­dat­ing cas­tle, sur­rounded with mag­nif­i­cent trees form­ing a shal­low wood with sev­eral traps. It is also the one and only place the movie starts and ends. The com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic of all the cast is their unsat­is­fac­tion with the liv­ing and their feel­ing of being trapped in the city they live in.

One of the main char­ac­ters, Le Saint, enacted by the direc­tor of the movie Chris Bri­ant, is an out­sider to the town. He’s a nat­ural born sol­dier, decom­mis­sioned while work­ing in the army, wounded in Afghanistan and fol­low­ing a long period of rehab, turned into an offi­cer who’s try­ing to prove him­self in the Police force.

The Turk­ish audi­ence is very famil­iar with Dianna Agron: renown by her act­ing in “Glee” and “Heroes”, she’s now Alice, one of the main char­ac­ters with almost no back­ground info. Hav­ing met Le Saint while jog­ging in a park, she’s the only opti­mist face in the midst of the ner­vous eeri­ness of the city.

From the four friends who visit the town for “hunt­ing”, Ronny (Steven Wadding­ton) is a bored-to-death teacher, Oliver (Tony Becker) is a com­puter tech­ni­cian, William (Xavier Delam­bre) is a stu­dent and Stephen (Jay Brown) is a waiter in a restau­rant. The two under­lined char­ac­ters, Ronny and Oliver are inter­re­lated with Le Saint by the police offi­cer Ter­ence Knox, with whom we may encounter at the begin­ning of the movie dur­ing his rep­ri­mand­ing sessions.

“Night­mares are just self-censoring social reflexes.”

The movie does not depict a spe­cific date, nei­ther a place. The only detail about the time is the period, the week of the Christ­mas Eve; thus, in this con­text, one can be eas­ily con­fused at the begin­ning of the movie, hear­ing the state­ments such as “last week” or “the last day”.

Director Chris Briant

Director Chris Briant

The director’s choice to present the story within no chrono­log­i­cal nar­ra­tion is sup­ported with var­i­ous suc­ces­ful scenes. The back­ground of the char­ac­ters is not described in length but rather reflected by a few sum­ma­riz­ing –harsh yet beau­ti­ful– scenes, mak­ing the scenery more and more inter­est­ing. In this point, John Aron­son’s (the direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy) work is very much appre­ci­ated. He’s also renown to the Turk­ish audi­ence by series such as “With­out a Trace” and “Heroes”. The pic­toresque nar­ra­tion of the sus­pense scenes is thus the result of this col­lab­o­ra­tion between Chris Bri­ant and John Aronson.

Tak­ing a gen­eral look at the sce­nario, one can say that the story is founded over the basic prin­ci­ples of tragedy. The sin­gu­lar­ity of time, place and the inci­dent is the most appar­ent exam­ple of this foun­da­tion, set­ting the story up in a place, within one week, over a sin­gle inci­dent…  The impact of coin­ci­dence, started by the cir­cum­stan­cial meet­ing of Le Saint and Alice and strenght­ened by the over­all flow in the cas­tle, under­lines the tragic dimen­sion of the thriller.

The story tells –in a shal­low but very ana­lytic way– how the peo­ple known as good cit­i­zens in the daily life could trans­form into dark per­sons in some given con­di­tions. The vio­lence expe­ri­enced in Fort-Goben leav­ing the audi­ence breath­less, the suc­cess on the reflec­tion of this vio­lence keeps the screen clean of bloody scenes.

Another suc­cess­ful point of the movie is the cast­ing; Chris Bri­ant, being both the direc­tor behind the cam­era and the actor on stage, has a bril­liant trait; while all of the char­ac­ters are very sharply depict­ing their per­sonas despite the lack of an in-depth analy­sis. In a story allud­ing to soci­o­log­i­cal issues such as social iso­la­tion and medi­oc­rity, the unease and the ten­sion of the char­ac­ters are per­fectly described by this cast­ing in any given moment of the movie.

The sound­track of the movie is pre­pared by another renown name, Mark Snow, who has already worked on the sound­tracks of “The X Files”, “Ghost Whis­perer”, “Smal­l­ville” and “One Tree Hill”. The back­ground music enhances the nar­ra­tion dur­ing the scenes.

As a first movie, “The Hunters”, can­not be ignored, given the suc­cess­ful cin­e­matog­ra­phy it presents to the audience.

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