This 2011 Australian film stars the inimitable Willem Dafoe as a mercenary named Martin David. He is hired by Red Leaf, a seemingly corrupt biotech company bent on claiming the DNA of a supposedly extinct animal for greedy purposes. The animal is a rare Tasmanian tiger believed to have gone extinct in the 1930s. Undercover in Tasmania, Martin lives as a biologist in a house with the Armstrong family. Lucy (Frances O’Connor) and her two children, Katie (Morgan Davies) and Jamie (Finn Woodlock), are devastated by the disappearance of Armstrong patriarch Jarrah. The film follows Martin’s exploits as he ventures into the wilderness day after day to set traps and hunt for the elusive tiger. Martin begins to bond with the Armstrongs while regularly checking in to rest. Eventually he uncovers some of the Red Leaf’s unsavory misdeeds and learns the level of the black operation he is involved with.
Some of the best sequences in the film are the moments between man and nature. Dafoes Martin must brave the elements and the conspiracies working against him. Tasmania’s terrain is home to some fairly harsh climates, including freezing temperatures at higher elevations. As a mercenary, he’s adept at surviving in the wilderness, but he’s unprepared for the mysteries he uncovers out in the wilderness – secrets that ultimately share both the family he’s befriended and Red Leaf connected. Sure, it’s another film that comments on environmentalism, shady corporations, and greed — but it’s an exciting one, to say the least.