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Non-Review Review: The Hunting Party

You can’t make this stuff up.

Another one of those movies we hadn’t heard about until Dad brought them home from the videostore, but this time in a good way. A look at the hunt for war criminals in the aftermath of the Serbian war, it’s glib and well-acted, if a little illogical and preachy in parts. As far as war-reporter films go, this one is solidly in the middle of the pile, but there are worse places to be.

Both leads give solid performances. I’ve enjoyed Richard Gere’s career path of late, and most of his performances – if not the films themselves. He was the best thing about Hoax, a film a little too self-assured for its own good, and he’s really shown off his range in the past decade. He really is a leading man of note, one who seems to have developed a flexibility and charisma that George Clooney himself might be proud of. And, as my Mom points out, he ain’t too tough on the old eyes. As a beleaguer and exploitive war explorer left hollowed out by the terror he’s witnessed, he manages to rise above the cliche’s and invest some actual character into the role, with a deft charm that makes his manipulative character fun to watch.

Terrence Howard is solid in support, as always. I have yet to see any of his leading roles, but his ability to play the stoic supporting character is very good. Again, the character is nothing to right home about. He’s saddled with a dream job at the New York desk when he’d rather be in the heat of battle. It is a relatively thankless role just like just about any other narrator in any other war film, and Howard does it well.

The direction and the ‘fun facts’ at the end are great as well. The politics of the affair seem a little heavy-handed, which would be forgiveable if the rest of the script worked so well. The film glosses over certain elements – How did the truck driver miss them? How did Hunt’s former camara man, knowing what he does, believe Hunt simply wants to interview The Fox? How do the intrepid reporters evade the CIA so swiftly? – that leave the audience to shake their head. Sure, the film is supposed to have an air of ridiculousness to it, but you don’t get any points if you don’t show us the absurdity.

It’s enjoyable, well directed and well acted. You could do a lot worse.

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The Hunting Party is a war drama written and directed by Richard Shepard (The Matador) and starring Richard gere (Primal Fear, The Mothman Prophecies), Terrence Howard (Iron Man, DreamGirls) and Dylan Baker (Revolutionary Road, Spiderman III). It was released in the UK on 14th September 2007 and the UK and Ireland on 23rd November 2007.

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