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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Hunting Party (review)

“Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true,” we are informed as this satire that’s not really a satire opens. Richard Gere’s beat-up but upbeat washed-up war correspondent and his former cameraman, the itching-for-adventure Terrence Howard (Pride), embark on a hunt in present-day Bosnia for the world’s most-wanted criminal, a (semifictional) monster responsible for the 90s horrors of Sarajevo. Whether they find him or not is beside the point: the point of this bitterly funny pill of a flick is that the CIA, the Hague, NATO, the UN, everyone’s who’s supposed to be looking for this guy… they’re all a buncha criminals themselves with agendas that have little to do with keeping the world safe. But this laugh-till-you-cry diatribe — which just happens to be wrapped around a wickedly entertaining and randomly horrifying road-trip trope — isn’t actually about Osama Bin Laden, not at all; not at all. Gere (Shall We Dance?) is on as the conscientious, sensitive voice tired of corporate media bullshit that denies hard realities in exchange for sound bites; writer-director Richard Shepard, who gave us 2005’s underappreciated The Matador, knows how to distill the ironies of 21st century realpolitik into rousing cinema. It’s enough to make you believe someone really does care about something these days.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated R for strong language and some violent content

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb

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