Like Police, Adjective, The Hunter is a slow-paced film which probably has more cultural significance than viewers outside its place of origin will recognize.
Ali Alavi, an ex-con who works the night shift, comes home to find his daughter and wife missing. Ali goes to the police and discovers they were killed by gunfire between police and a rebel group. Taking his rifle, he goes up to a hill and hunts cars on the freeway.
The film takes its time to arrive at the two main plot points and after he starts shooting cars, you’re not really sure why this is his reaction to the death of his wife and child. It might be interesting to discuss the decisions made at the conclusion, but other than that, there’s not a strong engagement with the audience. Very few characters interact with Ali, so we spend most of the time watching his moody mug go to his boring job, look for his family, and MINOR SPOILER run from the police SPOILER OVER.
None of this would be a problem if the audience were thrown more breadcrumbs to understand the character’s motivations – but something tells me there’s a cultural significance to the killing of his family by police/rebels that audiences outside of Tehran can’t grasp.
If you liked Hanake’s opaque Cache (Hidden), I’m sure you’ll love this. For the rest of us, we’ll pass.