8:00 PM, 17th February, 2012
This fantastic action thriller focuses on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) to deal with the outbreak.
Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff (Paltrow) dies following a seizure from what at first appears to simply be a bad case of the flu, until her young son dies the same day with the same symptoms. This is the beginning of a deadly infection that will soon spread throughout the world. Beth's husband Mitch (Damon), however, seems immune.
The film works as both a thriller and a mystery, as CDC scientists work to identify the root of the disease, how it is spread and then attempt to create a vaccine. From four apparently unrelated cases to worldwide epidemic, the mystery illness ravages cities and remote areas while the World Health Organization fights to contain the contamination. As people panic, societal order begins to break down and the film shifts into an examination of what it is to be alive with the world dying around you.
Contagion is a prescient film, given the new virus discovered in 2011 originating in Germany affecting over 3,000 people, with scientists around the world trying to combat it. Featuring an incredible all-star cast this tense, methodical thriller will leave you with a sense of foreboding and wonder; plus a desire to really thoroughly wash your hands.
10:01 PM, 17th February, 2012
We meet fastidious mercenary Martin David (Dafoe) in an airport lounge, where a mysterious biotech company engages him to collect biological samples from a rare creature and ensure the samples remain unique. Soon, Martin is boarding a plane alongside hippyish widow, Lucy Armstrong (O'Connor), and her two children, whom he runs into in back-of-beyond, Tasmania. Lucy's husband was looking for a Tasmanian tiger, rumoured to be living in the nearby plains and ridges, but he disappeared a year ago on one of his searches, and now Lucy spends her days zoned out on pills while her house falls apart and her children look after themselves.
Martin goes on long hunting trips, into the gorgeous wilderness, looking for a tiger. Whenever he returns, strange things have happened. Are the greenies or the loggers responsible? Either way, it's clear he's not welcome. To make matters worse, things are going too slowly for the biotech company and they bring in the back-up plan.
What I liked about The Hunter was the gorgeous photography of the Tasmanian wilderness, the growing tension surrounding Martin and his apparently futile hunt for the tiger, and the story of Martin's journey to become more human as he grows closer to the family.
A sleeper Aussie hit.