The Hunter, Daniel Nettheim, 100 mins (15)
The Players, Various directors, 109 mins (18)

Give him a gun and a good part – at last, Willem gets his man

Not enough directors have the good sense to put Willem Dafoe centre stage. Those gaunt, crazed features, with the jagged-toothed smile of someone who wants to eat you, no doubt mitigate against his playing a leading man. When he does get the chance, it's invariably as a loner – a vampire, or Scorsese's Christ – and it's as a loner that he stars in The Hunter, an absorbing eco-thriller that pits Dafoe against a variety of other weird-looking carnivores in the Tasmanian wilderness.

His Martin is not so much a big-game hunter as a mercenary with a very flexible skills set. After the sighting of a supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger, he is hired by a biotech company to find and kill the animal, bringing back the rare tissue samples that will, no doubt, serve some dastardly purpose. Renting a room from single mother Lucy (Frances O'Connor), who lives with her two children on the edge of the wilderness, Martin ventures into it in search of the beast. But his cover, of an academic studying Tasmanian devils, hasn't washed with the local loggers, who suspect him of fuelling the environmental lobby against their trade. Soon the hunter becomes the hunted.

Based on the novel by Julia Leigh, this is an accomplished feature by Australian director Daniel Nettheim. He may over-egg his final reel with unnecessary tragedy, but until then the film works well – as a gripping thriller, as a melancholy reflection on our treatment of endangered species, and as a human drama in which the meticulous, humourless Martin is thawed by his exposure to damaged Lucy and her kids.

Comedy isn't the French forte, and nor, it seems, is clear thinking about male mores. In Guillaume Canet's recent Little White Lies, the only man you didn't want to throttle was in a coma. That character was played by Jean Dujardin, who in The Players not only gets to walk and talk, but also write, direct and produce. I can only imagine that his success with The Artist left him light in the head.

Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche are the brains behind a series of skits on male adultery, whose team of directors includes The Artist's Michel Hazanavicius. They peak at competence, but are mostly excruciating. The framing stories involve the two stars as serial cheats who resent their spouses finding fault, and take themselves off to Vegas to express their liberté. Only in "The Question", in which real-life partners Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy play a couple who spend a long night revealing their infidelities to each other, is there a spark of truth. Unsurprisingly, this was directed by a woman. Emmanuelle Bercot, merci.

Critic's Choice

Luis Buñuel’s masterpiece of Surrealist storytelling (or untelling) The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie receives a welcome 40th anniversary revival. And for the bourgeoisie at its most indiscreet, there’s Dark Horse, the latest from Todd Solondz, with Jordan Gelber as a suburban case of arrested development.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders