The Hunting Party | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Hunting Party

This hybrid thriller-adventure-black-comedy is mostly breezy, yet the film can't resist getting maudlin.

Inspired by a 2000 Esquire article about a handful of international reporters in the former Yugoslavia who were mistaken for CIA agents, Richard Shephard's film is wobbly hybrid of political thriller, action adventure, black comedy and cynical history lesson. It's postwar Bosnia, and a discredited reporter (Richard Gere) is driven to catch an elusive war criminal -- for ego, vengeance and the cash reward (why not?); he's joined by his old cameraman (Terrence Howard) and a green j-school grad (Jesse Eisenberg), new to the vagaries of war and "peace." Party is mostly breezy, copping openly to its heightened verve for entertainment's sake. Yet the film can't resist getting maudlin: The film's nugget of humanity, meant to shock us emotionally, is a pastiche of hazily shot music video and a cheesy Chuck Norris revenge pic. Gere's dissolute-reporter role comes with cinematically appropriate costume of rumpled khaki jacket and flask -- or is that a wink? -- but his insouciance gives Party a charge. Howard deserves better, but he's likewise a welcome presence. In English, and some Serbo-Croatan, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Sept. 21. Squirrel Hill

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By Mars Johnson