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"The Hunting Party"

Directed by Richard Shepard.
Written by Richard Shepard.  Based on an article from Esquire.
Starring Terrence Howard, Richard Gere and Jesse Eisenberg.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  9/24/07

Folks--

Although the entire story might be complete bullshit, "The Hunting Party" (which actually goes with "only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true" instead of "based on a true story" in the opening credits) tells an interesting story of how three guys might discover a internationally-infamous war criminal by purely dumb luck.

Terrence Howard and Richard Gere star as Duck and Hunt (I know), a cameraman and a reporter who have been covering wars in various countries around the world for almost ten years.  After Hunt gets fired from the network they report for, Duck takes a comfy corporate job back in New York and Hunt goes rogue, trying to cover stories for the highest bidder in some truly awful places.  In 2000, Duck is tasked with a story in Sarajevo, where he meets up again with Hunt...and, Hunt thinks he has a lead that ultimately forces Duck and his new assistant (Jesse Eisenberg) to travel to the Bosnian borders to track down The Fox, the worst offender of ethnic cleansing Bosnia has ever known.

So, these three reporters spend two days trying to find The Fox, all the while nearly getting killed trying to track him down.  It's a great idea, and much of this film might be based in fact, but so much of it is not explained at the conclusion of the film that it's tough to say what is really what.  But, getting caught up in fact or fiction is the film's only major downside; otherwise, it's a fun ride, thanks to a great performance by Richard Gere and another solid turn by Howard, who just gets better and better in lead roles after an eternity as a bit player.  The wildcard here is Eisenberg; his character is not a lovable one when we first meet him but he slowly warms on you as the film rolls along.  Match this threesome with some tough scenes around some of the things that pepper Duck & Hunt's past lives in reporting war atrocities, and you have a good film here; director Richard Shepard also did one of my favorite movies from '05, "The Matador" (with Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear), and he shows promise once again with "The Hunting Party."

This one is a small release and it doesn't look like it's going to make much money, so to see this one in theaters you're gonna have to hurry.  But, I think that you'll like what you see here...

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09