The Hunting Party Review

“Inspired by true events” is a phrase used lightly in Hollywood, often as a reminder that the plot twists are even more amazing because they are loosely based on facts. The Hunting Party seems to play up the true aspects of the film as a reminder that some of the stranger-than-fiction aspects of the films are believable because they are true. If the film were released as straight fiction, it would be absurd and unbelievable, but we accept these twists because we are told they are real. The Hunting Party even distinguishes that only the most unbelievable a parts of the film are true at the beginning. This is vague and even though a more detailed explanation of what was real is given at the end of the film, much is left purposefully ambiguous. Perhaps because the film is based on fact, there is some trouble in the resolution of story formed around truth.

Based on the experiences of four journalists who attempted to track down a notorious war criminal in one of Eastern Europe’s most dangerous regions, Richard Gere stars as a washed up journalist with nothing to lose. Thinking that an interview with the man who caused much of the pain in suffering in the land will boost his career he brings along his old camera man (Terrence Howard) and a rookie journalist (Jesse Eisenberg) to hunt down the criminal. These three men have nothing more than a rumor and a hunch to help them on their way, while everywhere they turn there are obstacles working against them. They are even mistaken for CIA agents by an employee of the United Nations who is certain that the criminal will not be brought to justice through the regular channels.

 Even though The Hunting Party makes certain to emphasis the truthful aspects of the outrageous story, what makes the film stand out is the unexpected humor drawn out of the situations. The subject matter is often heartbreakingly serious, and for this reason above all others the humor is always welcome and even more effective. This isn’t to say that the humor detours from the heavy subject matter, but rather the opposite. The subject matter is serious but the humor is a sugar-coated pill for these topics, making the heavy-handed scenes a slyly inserted surprise to the otherwise near-absurd adventure undertaken by the journalists.

The Hunting Party was adapted into a screenplay, with the usual liberty being given to certain areas of the plot, by Richard Shepard. Shepard’s source material was the original article, “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” written by Scott K. Anderson for Esquire Magazine.

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