The Hunting Party
Cast: Richard Gere, Terrence Howard
Direction: Richard Shepard
Even though it’s set in the aftermath of the Balkan genocide of the 1990s, this is not one of the grim, heavy-going war pictures. Rather, writer-director Shepard’s follow-up to The Matador (2005) is imbued with sardonic humour and who-cares-a-damn-anyway tone.
Loosely based on an Esquire article by war correspondent Scott Anderson, The Hunting Party blends fact and fiction to spin an unlikely yarn about a couple of broadcast journalists attempting to track down an elusive war criminal.
The duo, highly regarded for covering conflicts in combat zones, reunite in Sarajevo five years after the war has ended. The former star TV reporter (Gere) has gone to seed after breakdown. Meanwhile, his regular cameraman (Howard) has landed a cushy network job in New York.
Accompanied by a rookie producer (Jesse Eisenberg), the three men scour the Bosnian countryside hoping to locate the sadistic warmonger nicknamed The Fox. Along the way, they encounter ineffectual NATO commanders, an UN official who’s convinced that they are undercover CIA agents, not to forget a midget loan shark and his retinue of recovery agents.
At times, the storyline tends to become overly sentimental, like the flashbacks to a short-lived romance. Also, the journos’ opting for vigilante justice is morally untenable.
Such reservations aside, this breezy adventure packs a hefty punch.