The Hunting Party Movie Review
The Hunting Party is a movie that sort of came and went from theaters without many people ever noticing, but it's actually a pretty entertaining film. Starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, The Hunting Party isn't great but still has enough excitement to warrant a rental.
The movie, inspired by true events (I have to assume based on very loose facts), is about a washed up reporter (Gere), his ex-camera man (Howard) and the son of a network executive (Jesse Eisenberg) who go looking for The Fox, a notorious war criminal who is hiding out in Bosnia. While the CIA, the U.N. and even bounty hunters have been looking for him for years, Gere's stubborn character believes he has a new tip that could lead them to the interview of a lifetime - and a $5 million bounty. What starts out as an aggressive attempt to land a great interview turns into an extraordinary hunt, as the three decide it'd be better if they kill the man rather than let him go free for another several years.
The Hunting Party is at times funny, thrilling or entertaining, and always politically scathing. Writer/director Richard Shepard clearly has no love for the politics involved in international policing, and he does a good job of drilling into you a sense that while the U.N., the U.S. and several other capable organizations say they're hunting war criminals, they in fact are doing nothing. He even takes it as far as to say this sounds a lot like what the U.S. is doing with Osama bin Laden... Maybe he has a point.
Aside from the political commentary, The Hunting Party has enough edgy humor to make it worth it. The movie is essentially a suspense thriller, though it plays out almost satirically at times. The movie is entertaining, but I wouldn't go as far as to call it suspenseful; I think a few tweaks to the look and feel of the film could have gone a long way in taking everything up a notch. Still, the movie has a unique feel to it that works in its favor; it's hard to describe, other than it always seems like Shepard is winking at you from just off camera.
All three main cast members are pretty good, though no one's going to win any awards here. Gere is pretty good, but it seems like he's played this kind of character one too many times (though he does play it well). I'm still not convinced that Howard is the leading man several critics think he is, but he's still pretty decent. Eisenberg is also enjoyable and I'll be interested to see where his career takes him. I can see him getting typecasted quite easily, but if he chooses the right movies, he could be in good shape.
The Hunting Party is a fun little movie, and is also one of the more politically engaging films of 2007. Shepard's attempt at the end to show where he took liberties in the truth is probably the highlight of the film, and thus it's worth sitting through a few inconsistent moments early on. I wouldn't go out of my way to rent this picture, but if you're looking for something off the beaten path, The Hunting Party would be a good choice.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.