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The Hunted

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Hunted
from Film Forum, 03/20/03

Tommy Lee Jones tracks another fugitive in The Hunted (Paramount), the new film by famed director William Friedkin (The Exorcist). Jones plays L.T., the retired mentor of a Special Forces assassin named Aaron Hallam (Benicio Del Toro). When Hallam loses his mind in nightmarish combat, he sets out on a series of killings that make him a wanted man. The search is led by his troubled teacher. The result is a violent and spectacular chase that once again finds Jones leading a police chase through the woods; but this time, their target is truly dangerous.

Anne Navarro (Catholic News Service) says, "Friedkin deftly builds white-knuckle tension … and the music by Brian Tyler is brilliant, capitalizing on the fear and dread already felt by the audience. But while the film's carnage is used to justify Aaron's actions, it is excessive to the point of nausea. A little more subtlety and a little less bloodshed would have been more effective."

Jimmy Akin (Decent Films) calls it "an entertaining hunt. We get the wild ride we came for. The tension is palpable, the action swift and silent, and the audience gets lost in the events unfolding before it on the screen." He catalogues several "missteps" in the film, and concludes that, although exciting, the film fails to deliver any deeper significance. "The film tries to link itself somehow to the Bible. There's a creepy opening narration by … Johnny Cash that tries to link the film to the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac, and as the closing credits roll we hear Cash's ominous song 'The Man Comes Around,' which has more biblical allusions in it than you can shake a stick at. Few of them have anything to do with the movie."

Loren Eaton (Focus on the Family) doesn't find much meaning in the movie: "For most of its running time The Hunted feels as if it's desperately clawing for a theme, yet failing to dig up one. The story of Abraham and Isaac, which forms a rough framework for Aaron and L.T.'s struggle, seems promising at first. Ultimately, The Hunted seems more interested in spurting arteries than existential ethics."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "The Hunted should have spent a bit more time hunting for a decent screenplay."

Movieguide's reviewer objects to the film because of violence and "strong foul language," despite "some Christian and moral elements."

For mainstream press reviews of The Hunted, click here.