Monday, November 24, 2008

The Hunting Party (2007)

Directed by: Richard Shepard
Writers: Richard Shepard, Scott Anderson (article)
Starring: Terrence Howard (Duck), Richard Gere (Simon Hunt), James Brolin (Franklin Harris)

The film begins with a disclaimer Only the most ridiculous parts of the film are true. As the film opens, we are in Bosnia in late 90s, covering the war, with Terrence Howard's Duck giving a voiceover, telling his story as a wartime video photographer, and the story of his reporter, Simon Hunt. Okay, get ready to enjoy a war movie. Phew! But this is not a war movie, it's a spy thriller. No, no, it's a revenge drama. Not at all, it's an action film. Never, it's a spoof on the so-called war against terror initiated by the US.
The idea is not to confuse you. The idea is to de-clutter your mind. If you are watching the film as one of the aforementioned genres, we request you to refrain from it. The film has all these elements, yet, it's a very, very fluid story, told with sympathy and bravado, with a care-a-damn attitude and good natured humour. It's an American film, and most critical of America, the CIA and its stand against terrorism.
The best part of the film, however, is the pairing between Howard and Gere, the way they look at each other, you would imagine they are lovers. Their chemistry is shimmering; it shows. And then, the narrative. As the film progresses you start to believe that the story is true, because it goes from one ridiculous level to another.
Before we proceed further, here's the story: Simon Hunt was a celebrated war reporters for a US TV network. Then one day, he snapped. (Later, we are told the reason, his pregnant Muslim girlfriend was killed by the war criminal named Fox.) Then he was sacked and disappeared from the radar. Cut to five years later. Duck is now a big-shot and travelling to Sarajevo to cover the fifth anniversary of the end of the war. Hunt catches up with Duck and he has a big story. He knows whereabouts of the Fox, the dreaded war criminal, on whose head the UN has put a $5 million bounty. So, begins the journey to interview the Fox, ostensibly, but you know, Hunt has other plans... Soon, all hell breaks loose when they are suspected to be CIA agents, until the real CIAs arrive.
It's suspenseful, it's hilarious, it's funny, with an UN officer of Indian origin eating doughnuts, a perpetually suspicious Russian, Boris, and a midget, which the end credits reminds us are all real...
Yeah, the film would have failed miserably had the director taken the task seriously. But he decides to have fun, at the expense of everyone else, the media, the UN, the US government, the CIA, and even the terrorists. See the film with an open mind and have a blast!!!

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