The Hunting Party


The Hunting Party Information

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The Hunting Party is a 2007 American action-adventure-thriller film with elements of political activism and dark satire starring Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Diane Kruger and Jesse Eisenberg. The working title for this film was Spring Break in Bosnia before being changed to The Hunting Party during post-production.

The Hunting Party had its world premiere at the 64th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2007. The movie turned out to be a huge disappointment domestically, grossing only US$969,869 in US theatres.

Plot

The movie begins with a disclaimer: After years of covering one armed conflict after another, American journalist Simon Hunt (Richard Gere) is in Bosnia and Herzegovina in early 1994 reporting on the war taking place there. In parallel, he has managed to romance a local Muslim girl who is pregnant with his child. However, in the late stages of her pregnancy, she is killed by the Bosnian Serb forces when they overrun her village. Upon seeing the carnage, Simon vows revenge on the Bosnian Serb political leader Dragoslav Bogdanovi"?"?known as "The Fox". Reporting on the gruesome event later that day in a live remote link-up, Simon loses his composure at the network anchor Franklin Harris' (James Brolin) suggestion that the Serb attack may have been a reaction to Muslim provocation attacks from inside the village. As a result of his on-air meltdown, Simon's journalistic career takes a tumble. While his professional prospects spiral downhill, those of his long-time camera man Duck (Terrence Howard) go in the opposite direction. Duck gets a cushy job at the network, while Hunt is left following war after war, as a freelancer, in an attempt to get back on US network television map.

Years later in fall 2000, Duck returns to Bosnian capital Sarajevo to shoot a "puff piece" of the network anchor Franklin Harris covering the fifth anniversary of the agreement that ended the war, along with fresh-out-of-Harvard young journalist, and son of the network vice-president, Benjamin (Jesse Eisenberg). Duck runs into old buddy Simon. Once a US network star reporter, Simon is by this point, a desperate half-drunk cynic reduced to filing freelance reports for underfunded news outlets in places like Jamaica and Poland. All the while, he's looking for a story big enough to propel him back to the realm of credibility. He tells Duck that, through a source, he has located Bogdanovi"? who is now wanted for war crimes with a US$5 million bounty on his head, and that he'd be interested in trying to score an interview with the fugitive. The Fox is assumed to be in the village of ?elebi"?i in Republika Srpska (Serbian entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina), near the border with Montenegro with various stories circulating about him, such as that he enjoys fox hunting and that the head of his security detail is a ruthless psychopath with a tattooed forehead.

Convinced by Simon, Duck comes along to shoot the interview, with Benjamin in tow. On the way, Simon confesses his plan to capture the Fox"?something Duck and Benjamin consider insane even to think about. Along the way, the group is mistaken for a CIA hit squad by several groups, including the United Nations police force and the Serbs themselves; at one point, at the initiative of Benjamin, they claim to be CIA agents themselves, using a threat to avoid paying a fee for a tip. Still, Boris (Mark Ivanir), the local area UN commander puts them in touch with a woman claiming to have been romantically involved with the Fox's main bodyguard Srdjan.

Simon, Duck, and Benjamin are then captured by the Fox's guards and taken to a barn to be executed where axe-wielding Srdjan"?who's got the phrase ???? ??? ??"???? ('died before birth') tattooed on his forehead in Cyrillic alphabet"?is preparing to kill them through torture. At the last moment, a team of CIA assassins storms the barn and frees the journalists, but Fox escapes. It quickly becomes evident to the journalists that, even in the international community, there are people who do not wish the Fox to be captured.

The CIA orders the journalists to board an airplane bound for the US, but they run away to carry out their plan to catch the Fox. They capture him while he is hunting in the woods without his guards. The journalists then release him, with his hands securely bound, in a village called Polje filled with the surviving family members of victims of his war crimes.

As the movie ends, before the closing credits, the screen goes to black and the following message is shown:

This is followed by a montage of people and events seen in the movie with words such as 'really existed' flashed across the screen as various characters are shown.

Cast and characters

  • Richard Gere as Simon Hunt
  • Terrence Howard as Duck
  • James Brolin as Franklin Harris
  • Jesse Eisenberg as Benjamin Strauss
  • Ljubomir Kereke? as Dragoslav "The Fox" Bogdanovi"?
  • Kristina Krepela as Marta
  • Diane Kruger as Mirjana
  • Mark Ivanir as Boris, local UN commander
  • Zdravko Kocevar as Sascha
  • Sne?ana Markovi"? as Una
  • Goran Kosti"? as Srdjan, Fox's main bodyguard
  • R. Mahalakshmi Devaraj as Miriam
  • Joy Bryant as Duck's Girlfriend
  • Damir Saban as Gert
  • Nitin Ganatra as Indian Officer
  • Dylan Baker as the CIA man
  • Aleksandra Grdi"? as TriBeCa Loft Girl

The Esquire article

The trailer for the Bosnia-set movie The Hunting Party announces it as being "based on a true story", which is, in fact, very loosely based on the events depicted in an Esquire magazine article by American journalist Scott Anderson. Published in October 2000 under the title "What I Did on My Summer Vacation", the article talks about a group of five Western war-reporters who reunited in Sarajevo during April 2000 and over some drinks at a local bar one night decided to make a halfhearted attempt at catching the accused war criminal and fugitive Radovan Karad?i"?. In addition to Anderson, the group consisted of two more Americans, Sebastian Junger and John Falk, as well as Dutchman Harald Doornbos and Philippe Deprez from Belgium. Other than alcohol, the starting point for their "manhunt" was an article in local weekly newsmagazine Slobodna Bosna notorious for sensationalist reporting that claimed Karad?i"?, along with his heavily armed security detail, had been spotted in the village of ?elebi"?i in Republika Srpska (Serbian entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina) near the border with Montenegro.

Before going into ?elebi"?i, the party of five journalists first came to the nearby town of Fo?a where they inquired about the safety of their trip among the locally stationed UN personnel. They soon caught the eye of a well-connected local UN officer from Ukraine who became convinced they were a covert crew sent in to apprehend Karad?i"? and decided to help them out by putting them in touch with a supposedly high-ranking Serbian secret police officer. The journalists decided to play along, and after returning from an uneventful visit to ?elebi"?i, they arranged a meeting with the Serbian secret policeman who, too, was convinced they were a CIA Black Operations team. He also claimed to have an intimate knowledge of Karad?i"?'s movements and whereabouts and in return for ratting him out he wanted American passports for himself, his wife, and their four kids, as well as a cut of the bounty prize.

Despite being not at all convinced of the honesty and sincerity of either the Ukrainian UN officer or the Serbian secret policeman, the journalists decided to play along even further, thus setting in motion a chain of events that in the end led to local NATO officials, American embassy personnel, and apparently even top American security officials from overseas getting involved.

Scott Anderson's conclusion at the end of the article was that UN and NATO not only exhibited precious little interest in actually finding Karad?i"?, but they also actively sabotaged any such meaningful attempt from within their own ranks.

When he was discovered, however, Karad?i"? turned out to be hiding in disguise and alone.

Junger, Falk, Doornbos, and Deprez make cameo appearances in the movie as unnamed journalists in the press pack.

Reception and reaction

United States

Critical reaction to The Hunting Party was mixed. The film critic site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 53% rating, or "Rotten", based on 90 reviews. The aggregate consensus reached states: "The Hunting Party is tonally awkward: its shifts from dark satire to serious political thriller create an uneven film, despite best efforts from its game leads".

The site Metacritic showed a rating of 54 out of 100, qualifying as "Average or Mixed Reviews", based on 34 ratings. New York Times reviewer Manohla Dargis called the film: "A misfired, misguided would-be satire." Owen Gleiberman for Entertainment Weekly stated, on the other hand: "What makes The Hunting Party an original, gonzo treat is the way that Shepard plants the movie's tone somewhere between hair-trigger investigative danger and the from-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire glee of a Hope/Crosby picture." Elvis D'Silva of Rediff India, in his article "Fails to entertain", has questioned how much the movie reflects reality of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Richard Gere promoted The Hunting Party with guest appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Still, the movie turned out to be a disappointment domestically, grossing only US$969,869 in US theatres. It opened small, on September 7, 2007, initially being shown only on four screens in New York City and Los Angeles. It gradually expanded to other parts of USA over the following weeks - first to 40 screens, and then to 329. It ended its US theatrical life some six weeks after its release.

Europe

Almost simultaneously to the US, The Hunting Party was released in Turkey on September 14, 2007. Released as Av Partisi, in its two months at Turkish theaters, the movie managed to gross US$424,048.

Next up was Germany on November 29, 2007, where it was released as Hunting Party " Wenn der Jäger zum Gejagten wird ("When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted") and grossed US$203,705 during just under a month at the theaters.

On November 29, 2007, the movie was also released in Croatia. Its release in that country is particularly notable because most of the movie was shot there and the only two non-Hollywood actors with significant roles in it are Croats Kristina Krepela and Ljubomir Kereke?. However, the movie received mostly lukewarm reviews in the Croatian media with mainstream print daily Jutarnji list reviewer Nenad Polimac criticizing the stock character portrayal of its villain - The Fox - as a stereotypical Hollywood baddie while suggesting the end product would've been a lot better had the movie been shot verbatim according to Anderson's original magazine article without the application of the Hollywood makeover. Additionally, Polimac's review longs for the days when "prestigious films like Fiddler on the Roof and Sophie's Choice were being shot here". The movie didn't fare much better in Croatian cyberspace as Film.hr's Bo?ko Picula complains that "despite its smooth plot, rounded-off characters, comendable attempts at reaching the virtue of genuineness, and welcome flirting with the absurd, The Hunting Party fails when all of that needs to be put together into a logical unit" while Film-Mag.net's Robert Juki"? refers to the overall product as "interestingly conceived, but poorly executed". At present, there is no box-office data for Croatia.

The release in Bosnia-Herzegovina's Bosniak-Croat part where the movie was partly shot was originally scheduled for December 7, 2007, but one day before the premiere, it had to be postponed for a week due to technical difficulties. The movie was finally released on December 14, 2007 with a premiere showing at Sarajevo's Meeting Point cinema attended by businessman Selen Bali"?, film directors Danis Tanovi"?, and Elmir Juki"?, as well as politician Bakir Izetbegovi"?, among others. The premiere was also attended by local actors Miraj Grbi"?, Sne?ana Markovi"?, and Semir Krivi"?, all of whom had minor roles in the movie as Thug #1, Una, and Roadhouse Waiter, respectively. Translated as Lov u Bosni (Hunting in Bosnia), the movie garnered generally positive reviews in the country's Bosniak media with Dnevni Avaz reviewer Anila Gajevi"? extoling its "important political message" and further seeing the movie as an example of "American fiction with emphasized altruism".

In mid-January 2008, the movie was released in the country's Serbian part where audiences largely ignored it with a premiere in Banja Luka's Kozara theater attended by fewer than 15 people. The reviews in the country's Serb media were generally negative: Nezavisne novine's Davor Pavlovi"? refers to the film as being "poorly directed" and concludes that its main flaws lay in "neither being able to treat the subject matter with sufficient seriousness nor to raise its dramaturgical level above that of a typical Hollywood action movie".

Premieres

The Hunting Party has been released around the world, premiering in a number of countries in 2007 and 2008:

Premieres
Date Country Notes
September 7, 2007 United States Initially shown on four screens in NYC and LA; first run ended after six weeks.
September 14, 2007 Turkey Released as Av Partisi; grossed US$424,048 over two months.
October 4, 2007 Israel The movie opened in Israel between its Turkish and German premieres. (No Israeli box office data is currently available.)
November 29, 2007 Germany Released as Hunting Party " Wenn der Jäger zum Gejagten wird ("When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted"); grossed US$203,705 in one month.
November 29, 2007 Croatia
December 14, 2007 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Released in mid-January 2008 in Republika Srpska.
December 27, 2007 Austria The movie lasted in the theatres until roughly mid-January 2008, making only US$52,967.
January 3, 2008 Slovenia
January 4, 2008 Spain
January 25, 2008 Romania
January 31, 2008 Russia
March 6, 2008 Portugal
March 13, 2008 Argentina
April 30, 2008 Italy
May 10, 2008 Japan
August 8, 2008 Brazil
December 12, 2008 India

See also

  • Gonzo journalism



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Hunting_Party_%282007_film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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