REVIEW: Hounded (2022)

dir. Tommy Boulding

Making his feature debut with this British twist on The Most Dangerous Game, director Tommy Boulding tells the story of a gang of thieves whose attempt to rob a stately home falls apart when the upper-class owners capture them and reveal their sinister intentions: donning typical fox-hunting gear, the aristocracy intend to hunt the intruders for sport.

Ray Bogdanovich and Dean Lines’ screenplay shines with rich characterisation, highlighting how the thieves are trying to persevere with the deck stacked against them: ringleader Leon (Nobuse Jnr) is striving to put younger brother Chaz (Malachi Pullar-Latchman) through Uni, whilst Vix (Hannah Raylen) knows she inhabits a corrupt world and would rather be a thief than work for one. The determined performances bring these characters alive, ensuring it’s easy to care for them and make any losses truly hurt.

Hunting them are the upper-class Redwick family who merely see the game as “tradition”, led with hissable relish by matriarch Katherine (Samantha Bond). These privileged figures spend their time looking down upon the working class yet have the audacity to lecture them in the “nobility” of their struggle, and in a time when many Brits worry about affording food and energy bills it all hits uncomfortably close to home.

What’s particularly impactful is Chaz’s arc, as his hopes crumble and he realises how the situation is rigged against him and other working-class folk. No matter how many rules are broken and lives lost, lawful justice won’t make things right when those with status and privilege act as corrupt puppeteers.

© James Rodrigues

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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