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  The Hunting Party

Starring: Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ivanir

Directed by: Richard Shepard

Produced by: Richard Shepard, Scott Kroopf

Written by: Richard Shepard

Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures, The Weinstein Company, MGM

 
     “Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true,” opens
The Hunting Party’s first act, which loses itself by indulging in all of the conspiracy-theories and liberal-guilt-trips that you’d expect to find in a politically-themed film starring Richard Gere. Despite functioning as a rather introspective look at wartime broadcast media, the movie’s first half-hour can’t find its footing because it seems so desperate to prove itself ideologically. As I watched this act flounder as it set the scene to semi-biographically tell the story of a team of journalists’ attempts to confront the criminal-mastermind behind the Bosnian War, I was prepared to dismiss the film entirely. To my eyes, director Richard Shepard’s implementation of historical-parallels used to bash the Bush Administration’s current view of foreign policy was proving entirely preposterous.

     Color me surprised when The Hunting Party was actually able to settle itself down and end up an engrossing film. After the first act-break, Shepard realizes the need to tell a worthy story and, accordingly, tones down the abundance of political rhetoric in his film. As the trio of journalists—Gere’s washed-up Simon, Terrence Howard’s high-profile Duck, and Jesse Eisenberg’s youthfully-deluded Benjamin—inches closer to its subject, the movie’s narrative becomes progressively more interesting. During The Hunting Party’s final hour, I found myself consistently engaged by the film’s suspense-ripe plot. Because this aspect of the picture was able to function effectively, I alas begun to understand its political discourse, which I had previously been utterly indifferent towards. All in all, The Hunting Party establishes itself as a worthwhile and mostly-riveting effort, even if it suffers from a shaky start.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 9.9.2007

Screened on: 9.8.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.

 

The Hunting Party is rated R and runs 104 minutes.


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