Monday, 8 July 2013

The Hunting Party (4½ Stars)

This is a film I discovered by accident. I saw the trailer for it on the DVD of another film I was about to watch. Although it didn't look like my sort of film I thought I would give it a try. And I loved it, it's a real gem. Let that be a lesson to any of my readers who avoid a certain genre. Even if you don't like (for example) westerns, you might come across films that will amaze you. That wasn't a random example. I personally hate westerns. And yet there are a few westerns that I enjoy, and not only the ones directed by Quentin Tarantino. I've always liked "Jeremiah Johnson", and a few years ago I discovered "The Wild Bunch".

"The Hunting Party" is loosely based on a true story. The true story is that after the war ended in Bosnia NATO and the USA accused Radovan Karadzic of war crimes inclding genocide. They sent troops to Bosnia to find him. Five years later he was still in hiding. A group of journalists wanted to interview him, so they travelled to Bosnia and found him in two days. America should have learnt from this debacle when they were hunting for Osama Bin Laden; instead of troops they should have sent journalists. Or better still, they should have sent a salesman selling porn DVDs into the mountains, because I'm sure Osama must have got bored jerking off to the same pornos in his bunker over and over again.

In the film a television crew are looking for a fictional Serbian leader called the Fox. Apart from renaming Karadzic, the characters shown are genuine and the story keeps close to real events. There's one significant difference. The real life journalists were true professionals, whereas the journalist Simon Hunt, played by Richard Gere in the film, has crossed the line. What I mean is, a good journalist is impartial; he withholds judgement and simply tries to report the facts as he sees them. Simon Hunt, on the other hand, is so shocked by the acts of genocide he sees in Bosnia that he decides to take revenge on the Fox.

Richard Gere is a truly great actor. I've never really noticed him before, apart from "Pretty Woman". The same is true of Terrence Howard, who has been in many films, but I've only ever seen him in "Iron Man". These two stars carry the film with their charisma. Jesse Eisenberg doesn't contribute much to the film, he seems like he's just along for the ride.

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