October 21, 2012

I hear Bosnia & Herzegovina’s nice this time of year. And Simon Hunt’s the tour guide. 

Sarajevo misadventures in ‘The Hunting Party’

Posted on 09/26/2012 7:20 PM  | Updated 09/26/2012 7:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Simon Hunt (Richard Gere) is a haunted man.

After years of covering one war after another, this feted combat journ vet finally loses his composure during a live broadcast covering the ethnic-cleaning atrocities of the Bosnian War. He blows it in spectacular fashion and gets the inevitable network boot.

In the wake of Hunt’s disgrace, his long-time camera man Duck (Terrence Howard) is rewarded with the opposite end of the TV spear: he gets a cushy job at the network and all the perks thereof. Meanwhile, Hunt is left in the cold.

Still addicted to the adrenaline of covering war, he flies to conflict after conflict, unemployed, attempting to get back on top and bleach his name clean.

6 years after the war, Duck returns to shoot a puff piece on the anniversary of the peace treaty.

Tagging along with him is rookie journalist Benjamin Strauss (Jesse Eisenberg), who also happens to be the son of the network vice-president. It is in this setting that Hunt re-enters Duck’s life and they morph from journos into the titular hunting party.

You can actually call this one “fear and loathing in Bosnia and Herzegovina” and it wouldn’t be far off the mark.

As road tales with journos go, the hare-brained antics of the characters here rival even Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fuelled romp. At least he and his attorney were in Las Vegas; these guys are in a post-war nation with a countryside still littered with landmines.

Let’s get something on the table first before I proceed. This film was completed in 2007 (based on an Esquire Magazine article by Scott Anderson titled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”), but has never been shown internationally, until now.

Exactly why? I have no idea. Were there some issues that still hit too close to the state of the Balkans and Bosnia/Herzegovina? Did the UN peace keepers take offense at the portrayal of their staff? Did the CIA?

Just in case you notice that the cast are a tad younger than in the recent movies you’ve seen them in, this is the reason why: it was filmed 7 years ago.

Still, this outrageous tale of how a rookie, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent go on a mission to interview Radoslav Bogdanović aka “The Fox,” the number 1 war criminal in Bosnia, is a total dose of action and comedy, with more twists than a pretzel.

How? When Hunt shows up, he promises Duck a mind-blowing world exclusive; he says he has a source who knows the exact whereabouts of The Fox. Thing is, Hunt isn’t exactly on the up and up, and it’s total insanity to go out on field armed with spurious information.

This road trip into the heart of Sarejevan darkness is well under way though, up into the hills in hostile territory, where the natives are still loyal to The Fox. To add to their troubles, they are mistaken as a CIA hit squad by a UN peacekeeper. It’s not a complete surprise that the Serbs, the UN police and the CIA are now after them.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


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