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Review: The Hunting Party (2007)

The Hunting Party (2007)

Directed by: Richard Shepard

Premise: A newbie journalist (Jesse Eisenberg), a seasoned cameraman (Terrence Howard), and a disgraced war correspondent (Richard Gere) travel across Sarajevo in search of The Fox, a wanted war criminal from the Bosnian civil war. What begins as an unlikely search for an interview becomes an increasingly dangerous foray into boiling post-war tensions.

What Works: Like Blood Diamond, the film is able to tell a highly entertaining story while taking the audience through one of history’s recent man-made hellholes and give a look inside of it. However, the way The Hunting Party is told makes it quite different from any recent film about wartime injustice. The Hunting Party is unique as a piece of film; this is essentially a war film that takes place in the post-war period. The three journalists are like a small platoon on a mission and the men bond together in the tradition of a buddies-in-action film. While touring the Serbian countryside, the film has the guts to include humor in the story as the journalists meet the locals and encounter dug-in tensions left over from the war. The story skips around the timeline, getting into the background of Richard Gere and Terrence Howard’s characters and how their war correspondence experience has shaped them. Jesse Eisenberg, the least exposed and youngest of the three leads, does a great job keeping up with these two established actors. As the men get closer to their target the tension rises and the film switches gears from a fun attempt at an interview and into a frightening foray into a violent world. The journalists find their own livelihood in question as their lies and manipulation become real and the distance from the events they enjoyed as reporters dissolves as they become the story.

What Doesn’t: The ending of the story is a little sketchy and stretches the credibility of the film.

DVD extras: Commentary track, deleted scenes, featurettes, Esquire article, interviews with the real life journalists.

Bottom Line: The Hunting Party is a bold and fun film that takes the viewer on a tour of post-war Bosnia and the complex moral and ethical issues presented to war journalists. 

Episode: #181 (March 9, 2008)