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New Escapist Column! On the “The Hunt” as Empty Provocation…

I published a new piece at Escapist Magazine last week. This is one has been a while in the making, since at least August last year.

The Hunt was massive controversial before anybody had actually watched the finished cut of the film. It attracted the ire of Fox News and, through that, Donald Trump. Universal pushed the film back, eventually settling on a mid-March release date, with the advertising leaning heavily into that controversy as a selling point. As such, it’s impossible to discuss The Hunt without discussing the maelstrom around it. This means that the movie itself feels like a disappointment and a damp squib. Its potent political content is nothing more than empty provocation, its biting social commentary just an elaborate troll. The Hunt has nothing to say, which is particularly disappointing as it is sandwiched between the genuinely political provocations of The Invisible Man and Promising Young Woman.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: The Hunt

The Hunt could never live up to the controversy.

After all, The Hunt was a film that attracted a considerable deal of attention. The basic premise of the movie finds a number of “deplorables” kidnapped and taken to a secret location, where wealthy liberals hunt them for sport. This premise attracted the attention of Fox News back in August. From there, it attracted the attention of the President of the United States. Donald Trump tweeted angrily about The Hunt, and within a day it was pulled from the release calendar.

The Hunt arrives in cinemas cresting that wave of controversy. The trailer for the new release date openly acknowledges the controversy and leans into it, encouraging prospective audience members to “decide for [themselves]” about it. So The Hunt arrives as an object of curiosity and fascination. Unfortunately, none of that feels earned. Indeed, it looks like the most remarkable thing about the shift in release dates was that it allowed The Hunt to avoid a direct class with the similar-but-superior “elites riff on The Most Dangerous Game” film Ready or Not.

The Hunt goes looking for controversy, but comes home empty handed.

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