William Friedkin's taut direction highlights The Hunted
, a bloodsport thriller that works best without dialogue. It's a prime vehicle for co-stars Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro, whose rugged screen personas are perfectly matched in a manhunt between a military assassin and the man who trained him to kill. Traumatised by atrocities in Kosovo four years earlier (the site of an action-packed prologue), Hallam (Del Toro) is seemingly psychotic and now killing in the forests of Oregon; Bonham (Jones) is lured out of retirement by a tenacious FBI agent (Connie Nielsen) to end Hallam's murder spree. The hackneyed plot is derivative to a fault (no surprise from the screenwriters of Collateral Damage
), and the whole movie's a foregone conclusion, but Friedkin inspires fine work from his well-trained stars while exploring the ambiguity of Hallam's character. Lushly photographed by Caleb Deschanel, The Hunted
is a survivalist's dream, militarily authentic and most effective when its primal instincts are cinematically expressed. --Jeff Shannon
Action thriller by William Friedkin, director of 'The French Connection' and 'The Exorcist'. Benicio del Toro stars as Aaron Hallam, a trained assassin who, plagued by traumatic flashbacks of death and destruction, has gone AWOL from the Special Forces and is living a feral existence in the forest of Silver Falls, Oregon. Trained to kill but mentally tortured, he starts brutally killing poachers and deer hunters who stray into the area. FBI Special Agent Abby Durrell (Connie Nielsen) turns to L.T. Bonham (Tommy Lee Jones), the man who trained Hallam, for help with the case. But can he reach his former prize student - and get through to him before he himself becomes 'the hunted'?