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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 02.04.10] Canada review news drama

Year: 2009
Directors: Alexandre Franchi
Writers: Alexandre Franchi, Mark Antony Krupa
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

A forest. It’s dark. Men circle a fire and chant a call to the gods of times past. This is a ritual that opens a door to something dark within the soul. A battle is brewing between the Celts and the Vikings and the legendary “wild hunt” will mark the beginning of the end, the frenzied hunt before the final battle.

The joy of Alexandre Franchi’s The Wild Hunt is that it’s not simply a story of a legendary war but also a tale of doomed romance. Really, Franchi’s film manages to be a lot of things. Usually, when a film stretches itself this wide, something goes wrong: you lose focus, the story gets unwieldy and hard to follow but Franchi and co-writer Mark Antony Krupa’s script manages to throw the reins wide while staying focused on the story at the centre of this meeting of genres: the doomed romance.

Part epic tale, part modern love story gone wrong and part documentary (though it never professes to document anything that really happened), The Wild Hunt tells the tale of Evelyn, a confused girl who has become involved in the world of live action role playing (LARP). She’s abandoned her boyfriend Erik for the weekend to travel into the forest for a yearly event that is, for many, the highlight of the year. Unable to reach her and worried that their relationship is on the brink of death, Erik takes matters into his own hands and crashes the party, one that features his estranged brother Bjorn in a central role. So now we have Erik, a guy who thinks the whole role playing thing is a joke, amidst a group of hard core gamers who do not take kindly to outsiders disrupting their game, all the while trying to find his girlfriend who is out in the forest under the watchful eye of a man who yields amazing power over his legion of warriors. If you think this is brewing trouble, you may want to prepare yourself because it gets worse than anything you could possibly imagine.

The exceptionally clever script sets Erik and Evelyn’s rocky romance to mirror an in game romance and though both Erik, Evelyn and everyone else involved, jump in and out of character, it’s clear that their in-game personals aren’t far from their real life ones; change the clothes and the settings but the people are still passionate, confused, flawed, angry and insecure. Talk about insight into the human condition. In this respect, The Wild Hunt is a better look at LARPing than a documentary like Darkon which sets off to specifically look at the people involved with the game. They may not have set out to do so but in the midst of telling their story, Franchi and Krupa have managed to shed some light and real insight into the game and people’s attraction to it.

Beautifully shot by cinematographer Claudine Sauvé, there’s a clear shift in the look and feel of the film between the real world and game play. There’s a washed out brightness to the “real world” that makes it dreamlike while the scenes within the game are sharply contrasted in warm tones that seem to bleed through even in darkness. There’s a realism to the game that, for stretches of time, drown away the “real world” and what you’re left with is an honest to goodness period epic. No where is this as clear as it is during the Wild Hunt. At one point, the camera pulls back to reveal an apparent army coming over a hill and the glow of torches in the distance transports you to another time.

Catapulting this already masterful work is a cast which bends between reality and myth, creating people you love, hate and believe. Kaniehtiio Horn is both beautiful and a little mystifying as the undecided girlfriend Evelyn while Ricky Mabe captures Erik’s frustration and fear of losing Evelyn. Trevor Hayes exudes creepy strength as Murtagh but it’s co-writer Mark Antony Krupa as Bjorn, Erik’s obsessed brother that steals the show with his brilliant performance as a man who lives the game so thoroughly, he seems incapable of coming out of character to help his brother.

Unafraid of blurring the lines and defying all expectations, The Wild Hunt really is exhilarating; full of laughter, drama and tragedy, building to a finale that will have you shaking your hand at Thor with a silent wish that he keeps you strong until you have the chance to see the film again. Yes, it's that good.

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Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

cant wait to see this myself but 9.5/10 is a lil crazy.


Lotus Eaters (13 years ago) Reply

"A forest. It’s dark. Men circle a fire and chant a call to the gods of times past."

Sold! haha


DeputyAndy (12 years ago) Reply

Saw it at the Fantasy Filmfest the past week. While the review may be a bit over the top, The Wild Hunt really is an awesomely great movie - funny, tragic, beautiful, brutal.

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