An ex-con brooding his way through endless night shifts at a crap factory job, Ali (writer-director Pitts) finds solace in the company of his wife and daughter, and the occasional solo hunting trip. A personal tragedy sends our hero off the deep end; quicker than you can say Charles Whitman, this disgruntled prole takes out two cops with a sniper rifle and leads two more police officers on a chase through the woods. Mining as much suspense as possible out of a minimalist aesthetic, narrative ambivalence and his own primo hangdog mug, Pitts expertly guides his God's-lonely-man protagonist through a Kafkaesque Iran full of paranoia and moral pitfalls. Though its climax courts cheap irony, The Hunter's seemingly laissez-faire creep up to a last act of round-robin desperation makes for thrilling existentialist pulp. By the time you realize how stealthy the film's critique has been, you've already fallen right into its trap.
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