The Hunter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a very good – and often great – image.
Sharpness was fine. A few shots could be a little soft, but the majority of the flick came across as accurate and concise. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent. No source flaws materialized either.
Colors were positive. The movie opted for a chilly, blue palette much of the time; a few shots went with warmer hues, but this was the dominant impression. Within those stylistic choices, the tones appeared good. Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots exhibited nice clarity. Across the board, this became an impressive transfer.
I thought the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was fine for the material. Much of the film opted for general ambiance. When David went into the wild, the mix opened up a bit better; gunshots and thunderstorms provided the most engulfing material. However, most of the audio remained low-key and environmental in nature, which was appropriate for such a restrained narrative.
Audio quality pleased. Music was full and rich, while effects showed strong accuracy and range. Speech was natural and distinctive; some accents affected intelligibility, but the recordings themselves were fine. Overall, this soundtrack suited the film in a positive manner.
When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Daniel Nettheim and producer Vincent Sheehan. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, other story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, visual design, stunts and effects, costumes, cinematography and other areas.
From start to finish, Nettheim and Sheehan deliver a strong commentary. They fill the track with interesting notes and make it proceed at a brisk pace. This turns into an informative and insightful chat that adds to the film-watching experience.
The Making of The Hunter fills 32 minutes, 50 seconds with notes from Nettheim, Sheehan, production designer Steven Jones-Evans, director of photography Robert Humphreys, and actors Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor, Willem Dafoe, and Marc Watson-Paul. We learn about the source novel and its adaptation, story, character and thematic elements, cast and performances, shooting in Tasmania, sets and production design, and some thoughts about the Tasmanian Tiger.
Overall, this proves to be a pretty good program. Inevitably, it repeats some material from the commentary; that track delivers so much information than repetition was unavoidable. Still, it’s nice to get additional perspectives and footage from the set, so this becomes a useful piece.
Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of six minutes, 39 seconds. These tend toward minor additions. We see more of David with the kids as well as a clearer depiction of Mindy’s feelings toward Lucy. We also get a little more about the attitudes of the locals and the “Greenies”. None of these prove to be terribly interesting; at best, they deliver a smidgen of unnecessary exposition.
We can watch the cut material with or without commentary from Nettheim. He tells us a little about the scenes as well as why he cut the segments. Nettheim continues to provide good information here.
The disc opens with ads for Marley, Take This Waltz, God Bless America and Apartment 143. These show up under Also From Magnolia Home Entertainment, and we get the trailer for Hunter, too.
The tail of an isolated mercenary who opens his heart, The Hunter bites off a bit more than it can chew. The film tends to undercut its drama too often and suffers from erratic pacing and tone. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and good audio as well as some useful supplements highlighted by a strong commentary. All involved create a professional movie with The Hunter but it usually remains curiously flat.