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THE HUNTED

An American soldier who’s been trained in the art of assassination participates in a lot of slaughter in the Bosnian war, returns to the States and proceeds to murder big-game hunters in the Northwest woods. Eventually, he is tracked by the man who made him a killer in the first place.


CAST: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen, José Zúñiga, Leslie Stefanson, John Finn

DIRECTOR: William Friedkin

" ‘The Hunted’ is about men--primitive, killing, grunting men--or more precisely, it's about the directors who like to make movies about these men. I haven't a clue what the film's politics, sexual or global, are supposed to be, and if there's a moral about men and murder, it's gone missing amid the fast cutting. What keeps you watching isn't the story or the actors, none of whom are at the top of their form, but the relentlessness of Friedkin's vision…You believe because Friedkin believes, at least until you realize none of it makes a bit of sense." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Friedkin may be the most vile director ever to work in mainstream cinema. Though gifted with an assured hand, he appeals to the teenage barbarian in moviegoers—and has won unaccountable esteem for stylish nonsense like ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ and ‘The French Connection’…The stars chase, pummel and stab each other until Friedkin runs out of film—or you lose patience. For hip cred, there’s ludicrous reference to Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ (‘God said to Abraham/Kill me a son’) but the half-assed critique of American military patriarchy is merely an excuse to keep teenage boys watching—and duped." --Armond White, New York Press

"‘The Hunted’ is really about Friedkin's lean, solid approach to action: tight, efficient fights, smartly engineered chases inspired by the physicality of the setting, and characters who lock their emotions under the cold control of professional determination..Within the confines of the genre (action movie as mythic showdown between traumatized warriors), Friedkin pares the film to essentials: primal landscapes, mano a mano battles, and a paranoid killing machine unleashed…‘The Hunted is all about the thrill of the chase, and Friedkin challenges the antiseptic spectacle and fantasy flamboyance of computer-enhanced blockbusters with a lean, mean manhunt thriller and gritty, hard-edged style." --Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"This isn't a movie: it's a police report and the strictly-the-facts terseness of the story makes this more than clear…we get such a callous product that when the team of F.B.I. agents, headed by Connie Nielsen, joins the chase, they just start firing right into the crowds… The stripped-down narrative is almost an apology for the ludicrous story—but it's just not enough of one." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

" ‘The Hunted’ boasts two Oscar-winning actors and an Oscar-winning director, but the only prize this shamelessly derivative schlock is likely to be in the running for is the year's dullest thriller. ..Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro turn in just about the least interesting performances of their entire careers…Jones, who has a bushy white beard, seems even older and more dispirited than he was in ‘Men in Black II,’ still forced to chase bad guys on foot at age 57…Del Toro never gets a fix on his severely underwritten character. In a rare performance as a non-Hispanic character, he adopts a bland generic movie-star accent that at some points makes it sound like he's being dubbed by John Travolta." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Jones gives the part something genuinely chilling. He imbues L.T. with the detached confidence of an old pro and death-dealer who's sick of the game but still plays it better than anyone…there's a loneliness and gravity that elevates the portrayal of L.T. and makes it special. His leathery, baggy-eyed face and abrupt spiky eloquence, the way he lithely slides into his scenes - all speak volumes even when L.T.'s dialogue is sparse… It's a much better, more involving show than recent action movies like ‘Tears of the Sun.’ But there's still something shallow at its heart, and something strained about Del Toro's character. One believes every second of Jones' performance, even when he's tumbling down rapids or dropping through elevated train roofs. But one really wonders why Aaron is so exercised about the slaughter of deer that he goes on a killing spree. (Couldn't he have just trussed up and humiliated these macho-creepo hunters without killing them?)" --Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"This is a parable of Thou Shalt Not Kill that's boyishly aroused by the ingenious ways a person can kill -- and the more special-ops the method, the more excited the filmmaker…‘The Hunted’ is the kind of movie for which the production notes boast the amount of knife handling and fight training the actors underwent--as if the effort put into the simulation of authenticity were its own recommendation… ‘The Hunted’ stalks the masculine psyche with sharp knives, but it tracks its audience too noisily to bag us." --Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"If you boil down to its essence the career of director Friedkin, you'll find that brilliant chase scene from ‘The French Connection.’ Now, older and perhaps waxing philosophical, Friedkin has made a bare-bones, existential meditation on chase scenes, invitingly photographed by Caleb Deschanel against the beauty of the Pacific Northwest...The allusions to Abraham and Isaac are not enough to justify what is really a tableau of fighting styles and knife work." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News