Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Hunting Party

Few films these days manage to create an intense desire to watch them. The Hunting Party just sounded like a great film to watch. Based on an article in Esquire, THP is a story about three journalists who go to post-war Bosnia to hunt for one of the biggest war criminals in the world. The lead, Duck (Terrence Howard), gets guilted into helping his old partner Simon (Richard Gere) go on this crazy journey. The two used to share a bond in war torn situations with Duck being that cameraman who always got the shot. Now Simon is down on his luck and needs a favor. Jesse Eisenberg is the comic relief going along with the duo because his dad is a vice president.

The journalists are all shocked when it seems that the U.N. personnel that are supposed to be looking for the criminals after the war seem to be turning a blind eye. An exchange with the U.N. creates a side story that is very well done. Along the way, the audience learns that Simon has an altogether different motive for his madness.

I certainly wasn't bored at any point during THP, but I had a nagging feeling that this could have been presented better. Writer/director Richard Shepard directed a marvelous film in The Matador that did a great job juxtaposing the different tones in the story. The Hunting Party seems to lack that touch. One never gets a sense of the journalists life's being at stake until much later in the film.

Terrence Howard is an immensely likeable actor. He never tries to do too much and rolls with the situations his characters are placed in. Richard Gere has the flashy role which seems to fit into his repetoire of asshole roles quite well. Gere does manage to squeeze some feeling into a guy who no doubt regrets his mistakes as his life went off track during the Bosnian war.

Not a bad watch by any means, but The Hunting Party never really hits the full potential. Look for a cameo from Diane Kruger late in the film.


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