Willem Dafoe, an actor who somehow always seems a man apart, is spot-on casting in this engrossing Australian drama as a calculating hired gun covertly employed by a corporate biotech outfit to track down the rarest of prey.
The last Tasmanian tiger died in a zoo in 1936, but unconfirmed sightings have drawn Dafoe to a remote corner of the Antipodes posing as a university researcher as he searches for this near-mythical creature and its valuable DNA. Tracing the elusive beast proves but one of his problems however, as he finds himself increasingly involved in the lives of his hosts, a family torn apart by the ecological tensions gripping the area, where activists and loggers are lined up in conflict.
Drawn along by the suspense element in Dafoe’s deadly mission, the film becomes an involving study in moral integrity and shifting values, beautifully directed and photographed to maximise an immersive sense of place. An unusual and ultimately haunting piece of cinema, screening here for best results on 35mm film rather than digital format. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)