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Cavill & Kingsley in First Full Trailer for Crime Thriller ‘Night Hunter’
“He rigged the basement!” A full international trailer has debuted for a dark new crime thriller titled Night Hunter, also known as just Nomis for the international release. The film is about a detective and his police force who get “caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man who’s linked to years of female abductions and murders.” Although it seems to be a bit more complex than just that, with some twists and turns. This features quite an impressive ensemble: Ben Kingsley, Alexandra Daddario, Henry Cavill, Minka Kelly, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, Sara Thompson, Eliana Jones, Emma Tremblay, Brendan Fletcher, and Mpho Koaho. This looks a lot like The Snowman or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, about troubled men who abuse women, and the people caught up in trying to stop them

A weathered Lieutenant (Ben Kingsley), his police force, and a local vigilante are all caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man who’s supposedly linked to years of female abductions and murders. Night Hunter, also originally titled Nomis, is both written and directed by English filmmaker David Raymond, making his feature directorial debut here following one short film previously. This first premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year. The film is already set to open in Europe later this fall, but no US release date has been set by Saban Films yet. Stay tuned for updates. How does it look?

The single flaw that stops The Night of the Hunter short of perfection
About the lone fly in the ointment of Charles Laughton’s beautiful and terrifying American masterpiece The Night of the Hunter.

Favourite films can be difficult to write about. I’m not referring to the films I think are among the greatest ever made. I mean the ones which always strike a very particular emotional chord whenever I watch them; films which are the cinematic equivalent of a favourite old album first heard in one’s youth. In a way, these films are somehow beyond criticism – one simply accepts their flaws and weaknesses at the same time as one derives endless pleasure from their virtues and strengths.

So Citizen Kane (1941), La Règle du jeu (1939), Tokyo Story (1953) and My Night with Maud (1969) – which for me are not only personal favourites but among the strongest contenders for the plaudit of ‘greatest film ever made’ – are movies I watch without ever having to make any allowances for them. But favourites like It’s a Gift (1934), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Le Deuxième Souffle (1966), Une chambre en ville (1982) or The Big Lebowski (1998)… While I’d certainly argue that these are all great films, there’s something about each of them which falls just short of perfection – whether it’s Cary Grant’s ludicrous sombrero and up-to-his-armpits trousers in Only Angels Have Wings, or the overly solemn concept of honour among criminals in Le Deuxième Souffle. But whatever their shortcomings, all these films are among my all-time favourites; I love them unconditionally, and can watch them time and again without growing tired of them.

Such a film, I think, is The Night of the Hunter (1955), sadly the only film which Charles Laughton managed to complete as a director. He did intend to make a film of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, but the box-office failure of The Night of the Hunter put paid to those plans.

Based on a little-known but weird and rather wonderful novel by Davis Grubb, Laughton’s film is one of the strangest and finest films to have come out of Hollywood in the 1950s. Set in small West Virginia towns on the Ohio River during the Great Depression, it tells of a murderous rogue preacher (Robert Mitchum) who learns of a fortune stolen from a bank by a man he encounters in prison. Upon his release, he sets out to seduce the hanged man’s widow, but he hasn’t reckoned on the resistance of her children, especially her son. So begins a battle – between, as the preacher’s tattooed knuckles would have it, love and hate – to the death.

What makes the film so remarkable is the way Laughton tells the story. Together with Stanley Cortez, one of Hollywood’s greatest cinematographers, Laughton created, in razor-sharp black and white, a bizarre but brilliant mix of expressionism and American pastoral, complete with some archaic devices reminiscent of pioneer D.W. Griffith (notably several iris shots) and a few moments of surrealism tossed in for good measure.

The result has the unsettling and often genuinely frightening atmosphere of a nightmare; indeed, on one recent viewing, I was struck by how many images reminded me of paintings by René Magritte like ‘The Empire of Lights’, ‘God’s Salon’ or ‘Not to Be Reproduced’. There is a real sense of familiar things not quite being as they appear, and of a suffocating darkness about to envelop the world – a darkness emanating from the psychopathic soul of preacher Harry Powell.

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