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The Hunting Party is an action-adventure-thriller with dark comedy elements released on September 7, 2007, starring Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Diane Kruger, Joy Bryant, 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.

Plot

After years of covering one war after another, journalist Simon Hunt (Richard Gere) loses his composure during a live broadcast covering the Bosnian War. While his career spirals downhill, that of his long-time camera man Duck (Terrence Howard) goes in the opposite direction. Duck gets a cushy job at the network, while Hunt is left following war after war, unemployed, in an attempt to get back on top.Years later, Duck returns to Bosnia to shoot a "puff piece" of the network anchor Franklin Harris (James Brolin) covering the fifth peace treaty anniversary celebrations, along with fresh young journalist (and son of the network vice-president) Benjamin (Jesse Eisenberg). Duck runs into Simon—by this point, a desperate, cynical freelancer who needs a story big enough to propel him back to the realm of credibility. He tells Duck that, through a source, he has located Radoslav Bogdanović—known as "The Fox"—who is a wanted war criminal with a US$5 million bounty on his head: he is assumed to be in the village of Čelebići in Republika Srpska (Serbian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker), near the border with Montenegromarker.

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. Simon, Duck, and Benjamin are then captured by the Fox's guards and taken to a barn to be executed. 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 filled with the surviving family members of victims of his war crimes.

Cast and characters



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 (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) who reunited in Sarajevomarker during April 2000 and over some drinks at a local bar one night decided to make a half-hearted attempt at catching the accused war criminal and fugitive Ratko Mladic. In addition to alcohol, the starting point for their "manhunt" was an article in local weekly newsmagazine Slobodna Bosna notorious for sensationalist reporting that claimed Karadžić, along with his heavily armed security detail, had been spotted in the village of Čelebići in Republika Srpska (Serbian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina) near the border with Montenegro.

Before going into Čelebići, the party of five journalists first came to the nearby town of Fočamarker 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 Ukrainemarker who became convinced they were a covert crew sent in to apprehend Karadžić 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 Čelebići, 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 Karadžić'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 an interesting chain of events that in the end led to local NATOmarker 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 Karadžić, but they also actively sabotage any such meaningful attempt from within their own ranks.

Presidential and government sources in Belgrade announced on July 21, 2008 that Radovan Karadžić had been arrested and arraigned.

Reception and reaction

United States

Critical reaction to The Hunting Party was mixed. The film critic site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 54% rating, or "Rotten", based on 84 reviews; the "Cream of the Crop" rating was 46% based on 24 reviews. 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.

The movie turned out to be a disappointment domestically, grossing only US$876,087 in US theatres.

It opened small, on September 7, 2007, initially being shown only on four screens in New York Citymarker and Los Angelesmarker. 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 Turkeymarker 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 Germanymarker 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 Croatiamarker. 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 Kerekeš. 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 Boško 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 Jukić 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-Herzegovinamarker's Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 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 Balić, film directors Danis Tanović, and Elmir Jukić, as well as politician Bakir Izetbegović, among others. The premiere was also attended by local actors Miraj Grbić, Snežana Marković, and Semir Krivić, 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 Bosnian media with Dnevni Avaz reviewer Anila Gajević 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 Lukamarker's Kozara theater attended by fewer than 15 people. The reviews in the country's Serbian media were generally negative: Nezavisne novine's Davor Pavlović 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 Statesmarker Initially shown on four screens in NYC and LA; first run ended after six weeks.
September 14, 2007 Turkeymarker Released as Av Partisi; grossed US$424,048 over two months.
October 4, 2007 Israelmarker The movie opened in Israel between its Turkish and German premieres. (No Israeli box office data is currently available.)
November 29, 2007 Germanymarker 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 Croatiamarker
December 14, 2007 Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Released in mid-January 2008 in Republika Srpska.
December 27, 2007 Austriamarker The movie lasted in the theatres until roughly mid-January 2008, making only US$52,967.
January 3, 2008 Sloveniamarker
January 4, 2008 Spainmarker
January 25, 2008 Romaniamarker
January 31, 2008 Russiamarker
March 6, 2008 Portugalmarker
March 13, 2008 Argentinamarker
April 30, 2008 Italymarker
May 10, 2008 Japanmarker
December 12, 2008 Indiamarker


See also



References

  1. Finding Karadzic: April 2004
  2. http://www.esquire.com/features/summer-vaction-1000
  3. What I Did on My Summer Vacation
  4. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2008/nov/14fails-to-entertain.htm
  5. Box Office Mojo
  6. Promašena tema o lovu na Kardžića
  7. Lov u Bosni
  8. F.I.L.M: Recenzija / KINO: LOV U BOSNI, avantura
  9. Pomjerena premijera filma "Lov u Bosni"
  10. Priča o hapšenju ratnog zločinca
  11. Ko (ne)će uhvatiti Karadžića?!
  12. Debakl filmskog "lova" na Karadžića
  13. Lov u Bosni: Lov ćorcima na gledaoce


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