Saturday, February 02, 2008

In which I review The Hunting Party, which was awesome

Yesterday I actually watched a feature-length film (pauses for your shocked reactions). It was The Hunting Party, a 2007 film directed by Richard Shepard, starring Terence Howard and Richard Gere. It rocked.


Long story short: the movie trifecta of burnout has-been (Gere), sellout success (Howard), and brilliant-but-green young'n (Jesse Eisenberg) go on a buddy road trip. Only it's through post-war Bosnia, and they're going to locate a Serbian war criminal, Radoslav Bogdanović a.k.a. The Fox, and interview him. Or, possibly, kill him. One of the two.

The movie is loosely based on an Esquire article, which you can read here. The film has been criticized as being anti-Serb, which is a fair concern, I think, but not a fair conclusion. Gere's character has a personal hatred of The Fox, and countervailing characters and themes are presented. The real, and really dark, humour of the piece is in the resigned uselessness of the UN personnel. They know the war criminals of all stripes are still in the former Yugoslavia, but they don't even have the tools, much less the mandate, to capture them:

Operating under the banner of the UN, the local IPTF unit was composed of Egyptians, Indians, and Bulgarians and was mandated to chronicle human-rights abuses and reform the area's police force. One thing it certainly wasn't doing was looking for the many war criminals believed to be residing in the Foca vicinity.

"Oh, no, we don't get involved in that at all," an Egyptian officer told us, looking alarmed at the very prospect. "In fact, we don't even have a copy of the indictment list." (Esquire article)

This is a real problem, noted in my beloved Carol Off book The Lion, The Fox, and The Eagle (no relation). There was, and continues to be, a lack of political will in finding some of the archest villains of the Yugoslavian conflict. Some of those at large include Goran Hadžić, Radovan Karadžić (the model for The Fox), Ratko Mladić, and Stojan Župljanin.

The "Hunting Party" aspect of the movie might be pure fiction, but the ham-handed flailings of those who claim to be trying to capture these men is all truth:

The topic arose because of a full-page ad in that week's edition of Slobodna Bosna, a Bosnian newsmagazine. Placed by the U. S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, it announced the $5 million bounties the American government had recently posted for the capture of Karadzic, Mladic, and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. Unfortunately, the notice was also a prime example of why governments shouldn't be in the ad business; not only were the photographs of the three men out-of-date, but the toll-free informant hot line accepted calls from the United States only--useful, perhaps, should any of them be hiding out in Des Moines. (Esquire article)


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suppah said...

It was awesome? cheap american flick girlie, cheap.

suppah said...

It was awesome? cheap american flick girlie, cheap.

Anonymous said...

I am a girl, but it almost made me throw up to see that scene where R Gere finds his girlfriend killed. It is really shocking.