Eerie archival footage of the "Tasmanian tiger," a carnivorous marsupial extinct since the 1930s, sets the tone for this solid Australian thriller (2011) from the producers of Animal Kingdom. A sinister biotech company engages a hardened mercenary (the ever-reliable Willem Dafoe) to stalk what's supposedly the last surviving specimen, bring back genetic samples, and destroy the remains; posing as a university professor, he finds lodging with the wife (Frances O'Connor) and young children of another academic who's gone missing in his quest to save the creature. The immoral loner offered redemption by a surrogate family is a familiar premise at this point, but as the hero runs afoul of his ruthless corporate sponsors and becomes quarry himself, the movie takes on an unexpectedly elegiac quality. Daniel Nettheim directed; the source material was a novel by Julia Leigh, who made her own filmmaking debut with Sleeping Beauty (2011).
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Producer: Vincent Sheehan, Liz Watts, Anita Sheehan and Paul Wiegard
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor, Sam Neill, Morgana Davies, Finn Woodlock, Jacek Koman, Jamie Timony, John Brumpton, Maia Thomas and Dan Spielman