with Sam Neill and Frances O’Connor

Mar 27, 2024 at the Garfield Theatre

A tale of danger, suspense and discovery set in one of the last great wildernesses — the rugged beauty of Tasmania’s highland rain forests and mountains.


THE HUNTER delivers what we expect from a good movie with an original, believable, well-acted story that holds attention throughout. It is well-written and beautifully photographed with an outstanding performance by Willem Dafoe.

In lush, real world Tasmania, framed by important universal issues, this slow burn thriller builds suspense and creates multiple mysteries. Indeed, it is a story of existential crisis, where man confronts the elements and his own feelings of mortality. 

The island of Tasmania as well as the quasi-mythical tiger become central characters – allegorical symbols of something lost and intangible, representing man’s disregard for his environment.

There is far more to THE HUNTER than the viewer may suspect from the initial set up – stay with us afterward for the post-film discussion.

  • Film description, cast bios, discussion leaders, theatre location and parking details plus dining discounts are in the sidebar tabs.

Not a big cat or a wolf, the “tiger” is a uniquely carnivorous marsupial.

A volcanic island with mile-high mountains dating to the Jurassic period, Tasmania is home to the tallest hardwood forests on Earth, with trees reaching over 300 feet and living over 400 years. It is also home to Australia’s greatest tracts of temperate rain forest, having significant  environmental and ecological importance.



THE HUNTER, director Daniel Nettheim, Australia, 2012, 101 minutes, filmed in Tasmania.

☀ At THE GARFIELD THEATRE, 719 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.   Google Map    Garfield Parking Options

March 27, 7:00 pm

Advance tickets $10 adult, $8 student.  Tickets at the door are $15 and $12, respectively.

Tickets are available for online purchase via the Tix Button, top of this page, and by phone at (859) 957-3456.  Tickets are no-refund/no-exchange, although we will try to work with you if you need to change dates and there is sufficient lead time and seat avails.

The Garfield offers a direct indoor path from the front door to wheelchair spaces and companion seats (no ramps, no stairs). Individuals using walkers, scooters or wheelchairs should call (859) 957-3456 at least 48 hours in advance to confirm your screening date and time. When notified, our staff will be standing by to assist.


Director Daniel Nettheim, Australia, 2011, 101 minutes. Suspense, thriller, eco-drama.
As a first-run exhibition over two nights, CWC presented THE HUNTER at the Carnegie Arts Center in 2012 where it was well-received.

Versus Hollywood thrillers at the time,  this Aussie independent feature was released in only four US theatres, expanding briefly to just seventeen venues, running for ten weeks. Domestic sales were only 10% of the world-wide gross.

Interviewed at a film festival many years later, Willem Dafoe characterized his performance as one of his best.  This is an under-exposed, under-appreciated, seldom-seen work — in other words, a hidden gem.


In THE HUNTER, adapted from Julia Leigh’s award-winning book of the same name, the central character is a detached, emotionally distant loner, tasked with finding the last remaining Tasmanian tiger by a shadowy biotech company convinced its DNA has vast commercial value.

Four-time Oscar Nominee WILLEM DAFOE is perfectly cast as middle-aged Martin David, a seasoned, superbly physically fit soldier of fortune, freelance hunter and survival expert, well suited for a difficult mission in the wilds of Tasmania.

With mountains, moors, beautiful old-growth forests, snowy peaks and sudden dramatic weather changes at elevation, Tasmania is moody, atmospheric and mysterious. The setting, and excellent cinematography, compliment a story line that presents several disparate mysteries, suspensefully converging in the final act. In a parallel thread, the conflict between loggers and environmentalists provides real-life context as they wrestle for control of Tasmania’s massive forests.

THE HUNTER belongs to Dafoe, onscreen in almost every scene. In a manner reminiscent of Joseph Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness, Martin has his own interior darkness: the lone hunter must reconcile his emotional isolation with his growing attachment to the family he encounters, and address the ethical paradox that presents as his mission unfolds. Concurrently, he must deal with the ominous reason why Lucy Armstrong’s husband has gone missing; the hidden agenda of Jack Mindy; as well as the discovery that he is not alone in the field — someone is stalking him while he searches for the tiger.

As the scenes flow to conclusion in this psychological drama, the well-developed screenplay, Dafoe’s power of expression, the deliberate pacing and the artful use of silence all build suspense and a sense of anticipation as his character is transformed in the final frames.



As we’ve come to expect via his other cinematic personas, WILLEM DAFOE (Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ, Shadow of the Vampire, Wild at Heart, The English Patient, Basquiat, Auto Focus, The Florida Project, At Eternity’s Gate, Poor Things) imbues his lead role with introspective complexity and depth.

With Dafoe, it’s a classic case of “small town Midwestern boy makes good” — the Appleton Wisconsin native, known for his gravely voice and steely gaze, has carefully chosen his projects based on the diversity of roles and the opportunity to work with the best filmmakers. A masterful and experienced character actor, Willem has worked with a stellar list of top-tier Hollywood and Independent directors at home and abroad — Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Oliver Stone, William Friedkin, Spike Lee, Werner Herzog, Julian Schnabel, David Cronenberg, Wes Anderson, Paul Schrader, Lars von Trier, Nobuhiro Suwa, Wim Wenders, et. al.

Respected by directors, crew and his fellow actors for the intensity and passion he brings to his craft, Dafoe has been nominated for 135 film industry awards, winning 86 times. He received Oscar nominations as Best Actor in At Eternity’s Gate ; and as Best Actor in a Supporting Role, in Oliver Stone’s Platoon and in Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire. His work in The Hunter, Antichrist, The Life Aquatic, Auto Focus, Wild at Heart, The Last Temptation of Christ, Light Sleeper, Spider-Man and The English Patient have also garnered nominations and awards for supporting, leading and ensemble performances.

On a broader scale, Willem Dafoe has been recognized for lifetime achievement by a number of domestic and international film bodies: Astra, Berlin, Camerimage, Chicago International Film Festival, CineVegas, Flaiano, Karlovy Vary, Las Palmas, Locarno, Marrakech, San Diego Film Critics, San Sebastian, Stockholm and Taormina.



Veteran actor SAM NEILL  has a supporting role as the enigmatic Jack Mindy. Sam is very much at home working in Tasmania — born in Northern Ireland, his father was an Army officer from New Zealand and his mother was English. He returned to N.Z. at age seven and eventually received his B.A. in English Literature from the University of Victoria, Australia. He has also lived and worked in the U.K. and the U.S. Currently he resides in Sydney with homes in Beverly Hills and New Zealand and for the last ten years has owned and operated a winery in the Otago region of New Zealand.

His best-known credits include Daybreakers with Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, The Good Wife with Rachel Ward, Jurassic Park with Laura Dern, My Brilliant Career with Judy Davis, The Piano with Holly Hunter, The Hunt for Red October with Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, A Cry in the Dark with Meryl Streep, The Dish and The Zookeeper et. al. With 80 films and 40 television movies in forty years, Sam’s body of work has been recognized via the Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, AFI and numerous festival and critics organizations.



Frances O’Connor was born in Oxfordshire England to Aussie parents, a pianist mother and nuclear physicist father. Her family returned to Australia when Fran was two and as a young adult she studied peforming arts and received her B.A. in Literature from Curtin University in Perth in 1991.

She got her start in Australian short films and television in the early-mid 90s. Fran moved on to features, Love and Other Catastrophies, Kiss or Kill and A Little Bit of Soul, in the late 90s.

Her breakout role came as the lead in the U.K. film production of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, costarring Harold Pinter, Jonny Lee Miller and Hugh Bonneville. She went on to star with Kate Hudson in About Adam which premiered at Sundance in 2000.

Next came Artificial Intelligence with Jude Law and William Hurt, then Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Nicolas Cage and Mark Ruffalo, Michael Crichton’s Timeline, then Book of Love, and The Lazarus Child with Andy Garcia and Angela Bassett.

John AlbertiJohn Alberti

Dr. John Alberti has taught at Northern Kentucky University for roughly three decades, with focus on the relationship between American literature and popular culture as evidenced in cinema, television and music.

At NKU, he is currently Chair of the English Department, Director of the Cinema Studies Program, and has been instrumental in bringing the Festival of New French Films to campus.

John is a graduate of the University of Southern California (BA, English, 1981) and UCLA (MA, English 1984 and Ph.D., English, 1989). He recently authored Screen Ages: A Survey of American Cinema, and his current projects include work on gender in American cinema and television; writing in the digital age; and the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter series.


Tim Swallow

Timothy SwallowTim operates The Garfield Theatre and is a founder and president of Cincinnati World Cinema, with a 22-year history of film programming and presentation, including world premieres and festivals. Prior to CWC, he spent two decades as a live events producer, focusing on music, theatre and the arts.

His experience includes management, marketing, finance, IT and event production. Specializing in short film and documentaries, Tim’s passion, and CWC’s mission, is building a film community to experience high-quality international, independent and short-form cinema not otherwise available in this market.



CLICK TO ENLARGEIt couldn’t be easier – across the street from the Garfield Theatre, you’ll find the Butcher & Barrel, home of delicious shareables, salads, entrees, sides and desserts, plus excellent wine, craft beer and mixed drinks.

For CWC patrons, the Butcher & Barrel offers a 15% discount on your order, excluding alcohol; menu is on the website. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially if you are dining between a CWC double feature. You should present your online confirmation or ticket from the event, and let your server know if there are time constraints. The discount is valid only for the date of ticket.

HOURS: MON-TUE, closed; WED-THS, 4-10 pm; FRI-SAT, 4-12 am; SUN, 4-10 pm. The kitchen closes one hour before the restaurant, every night. Hours and menu subject to change – check the website before booking. RESERVATIONS: 513-954-8974 or



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