“A weathered Lieutenant, his police force, and a local vigilante are all caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man who’s linked to years of female […]
“A weathered Lieutenant, his police force, and a local vigilante are all caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man who’s linked to years of female abductions and murders.”
Director: David Raymond
Writer: David Raymond
Staring: Ben Kingsley, Henry Cavill, Alexandra Daddario, Stanley Tucci, Brendan Fletcher, Nathan Fillion
Release Date: September 6, 2019
What if I told you, that there was a movie staring Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci, heartthrobs Henry Cavill and Alexandra Daddario and cult favorite Nathan Fillion. What if I told you, that said movie is uninspiring, dreadfully dull and overall unwatchable? You wouldn’t believe me, would you?
Night Hunter (2019) follows angry cop Marshall (Henry Cavill), his psychiatrist co-worker Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), their supervisor Commissioner Harper (Stanley Tucci) trying to pin down Simon (Brendan Fletcher), a man who has been connected with many violent crimes against young women. Adding to the mess for the cops are Cooper (Ben Kingsley) and Angie (Minka Kelly), two individuals who are partnered in taking down pedophiles in their own way. As the mystery begins to unravel and the puzzle pieces become decipherable, the danger elevates for everyone involved. Simon is not as one-dimensional as he appears to be, and the multiple facets of his personality place everyone in harms way.
The most damning thing I can say about Night Hunter is that it is dreadfully boring. Woefully so. I am not entirely sure how a movie with this amount of star power can manage to be so forgettable.
All problems in the movie stem from the screenplay, which places on characters in one-dimensional roads where growth is not the final destination. Marshall, Rachel and Cooper do not change in the slightest as the story unfolds. Marshall is stoic and not talkative at the start of the movie, and that demeanor sticks like glue. There is a moment in the movie where Commissioner Harper notes how Marshall doesn’t need to talk at people to get what he wants, all he needs to do is look. Honestly it is a bit like Geralt of Rivia. All he needs are glares are grunts.
Director and writer David Raymond tries to associate family appreciation to Marshall as a growth point, but that doesn’t work because the first time we meet Marshall he is teaching his daughter lessons about being online. He is the nurturing and loving type with the ones he cares about already, so when he has the big “must protect” moments later in Night Hunter, it is just a reinforcement and not a new thing.
The worst character in Night Hunter is Rachel. I write this with a heavy heart because I love Alexandra Daddario, but she is horrendous in this movie. There is not a single redeemable part of her character in the story. She is not convincing when interrogating Simon. The problems spread further in terms of her character itself. Rachel falls into the cliché of a female character that needs to be saved. Sure, she takes steps and makes her own decisions, but in the end it is someone else having to save her from the consequences. Just a really tough beat all the way around for Daddario.
Ben Kingsley plays Cooper, a grieved father whose family was killed by bad people. He has teamed with Angie, who is flaunted as bait for pedophiles. Once she gets them into a private space, Cooper knocks out their victims…and then castrates them. Yup, that is in the opening ten minutes of Night Hunter. What is truly confusing is that the police let him roam free over the course of this story. That is not plausible at all, and the lack of reasons provided in the movie make it even more ridiculous.
If you don’t want spoiler for Night Hunter, then stop reading right now.
The big twist in Night Hunter comes in the movie’s final act. It turns out that Simon is not one person, but rather two. There are twins. Let’s just say that this surprise is not as effective as The Prestige (2006). I know that is a high bar, but Night Hunter doesn’t give you enough to even step over a low bar.
Brendan Fletcher plays “Simon”, and other “Simon”. He goes full bipolar psychopathy with drooling, peeing on the door and Joker-esq maniacal laughing. His choices do not work within the scope of this movie’s vibe. Night Hunter is mostly dark, dreary, and quiet. Simon is loud and vulgar. David Raymond may have written the character that way to make him stand out, but that is a mistake without itself. Simon is memorable for being different. Instead, he is remembered for being distracting.
Night Hunter was the directorial debut for David Raymond. He is attached to one other project upcoming, Absence Of War, but there are no details on it as well. It will be his first writing and directing project since Night Hunter. If he can rally up a cast as strong as his debut effort, then I hope he can learn from his mistakes, as we all have the right to do,
Night Hunter is not worth watching on its own merits, but if you want to watch a disappointment the gathers steam as it rolls off the tracks, then check it out on Amazon Prime.
STANKO RATING: D- (1.0/5 Stars)
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