They always say “journalism is a dying form”, so if there’s some extra-cash involved, then by all means do what you can.
During the 1990’s, big time, war-reporter Simon Hunt (Richard Gere) and cameraman Duck (Terrence Howard) went all around the world, gaining footage and covering stories in war-torn countries. They hot, big and making all of the big bucks, but after a public-meltdown on live television, the two parted ways. Duck ended-up making a name for himself moreso by becoming a producer of sorts; whereas Hunt practically vanished into thin air, barely to ever be heard from again. One day, however, while Duck and a new assistant of his (Jesse Eisenberg) are out in Bosnia covering the war, Hunt suddenly shows up, telling them that he has a plan to kidnap the infamous war criminal known as “the Fox”. The reason being? Well, one reason is to get a big story and put Hunt’s name back in the mainstream-line of news-reporting; but another reason is also to get a lot of money from those who want “the Fox”. And honestly, they’re task wouldn’t seem so hard in the first place if this was a man who was as easy to find as a cow in a grass-field, but nope. He’s protected by hundreds and hundreds of his own cronies, who are just waiting for some dudes to come snooping around in business that clearly isn’t theirs.
At the end of the Hunting Party, there’s a credits-sequence in which director Richard Shepard makes it totally clear exactly what it is that he’s trying to say with this story. He makes a mention of how the U.S. government is, “apparently still looking for Bin Laden”. He puts an extra-emphasis on the word “apparently”, giving us the impression that the CIA really isn’t paying attention to a matter such as this, and instead, wasting their good old time on cases like who stole cousin Mikey’s five dollar-bill or something of that nature. But whatever it is that the CIA is actually looking at, doesn’t matter; what does matter is that they aren’t totally searching for Bin Laden, and more or less just sitting on their asses, telling everyone else it’s their “main priority”.
Well, the movie’s a bit dated in that regard. Which, I can’t really hold against the film to begin with, but this way of ending the whole show gave me a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Which, yes, is strange, because if anybody out there knows me, they’ll know I’m nowhere near being the biggest advocate for the well-being of the U.S. government and everything it is that they tell me as a member of society. However, the fact still remains that we caught Bin Laden, therefore, making whatever snobby statement Shepard is trying to make at the end of this movie, practically null and void.
But by this happening, it makes me feel like the past 100-minutes I had just spent with this movie, this story and these characters, almost useless, considering it was actually about something else entirely. See, I don’t want to give too much away about the end to this movie and how everything turns out, but much rather than being a thriller, with some dark comedy placed in throughout, it ends up being one, near-two-hour preach from the creators about how the U.S. government isn’t really doing their jobs and we should all pay attention to what’s really going on behind the scenes and everything else that we’re told.
Sure, it’s nothing new we haven’t heard before, but here, it felt pretty cheap for Shepard to bring this up totally out-of-the-blue by the end. Not because it didn’t fit right with the story he was actually telling, but because the story itself was actually an intriguing one to begin with, and to just stop us, open up our eyes and tell us that it’s all about something else entirely different, makes it seem like this movie doesn’t ever need to be seen in the first place, nor does this story itself even need to be told.
So, in essence, this is a movie that doesn’t need to be seen. Like, at all.
Not for the good performances from the finely-assembled cast; not for most of the humor that actually made me laugh; and not even for the sometimes, rather-tense plot.
Nope, it should all be seen for the point that Richard Shepard is trying to bring home by the tail-end.
Which is totally strange considering something like this hasn’t happened to me in awhile – where I, at first was really digging a movie, only to have that totally change because of something that happened right at the very end of the movie that rubbed me the wrong. I honestly can’t remember the last time that that happened, which probably goes to show you how truly rare it is, but such a controversy happened here, with my feelings regarding this movie and whether or not I should recommend it to those out there who give a damn about what I think is “good”, and what “isn’t so good”.
So, with that said: Do I think this movie is worth seeing? I want to say yes; I really do. But, at the same time, I want to say no. The reason I want to say “yes”, is because there actually is a very interesting story at the center of all this, especially if you’re a journalist, or at least aspiring to be one. It’s cool to see a movie that actually somewhat glamorizes the life of a journalist; the money, the hotel rooms, the women, the booze, the money, the breaking-stories, the feeling of doing something right for the world you live in. But also, by the same token, it still goes to show you the type of lengths journalists will go to in order to ensure themselves that they have a story in the first place, even if getting the certain bits and pieces of information for that said story, may result in some very serious, very drastic consequences that could put one’s life at risk. That’s something you don’t too often see a movie show about the lives and careers of journalists, and I’m glad that this movie decided to show that side. Maybe that’s just my personal feelings, but that’s just what I like to see.
But, the reason why I say “no”, mostly has to do with everything I stated up-top: There’s really no point to this story other than to make a point. A point which, mind you, isn’t wholly based on fact. Sure, the U.S. government took quite some time in finding Bin Laden, but the fact remains: We found him, where he was living, he’s dead. End of story. Is there some stuff out there we’re not being told about this case on purpose? Of course there is! How could there not be? However, the fact remains is that we found him, he is gone from our planet and there shouldn’t be any more grumbles about that. I swear to you, I’m not one for standing straight-up for the U.S. government, but in these cases, I feel like I may need to get on my soapbox a bit as well.
So suck on that, Richard Shepard!
Consensus: Taken into context with what we know now, the Hunting Party doesn’t wholly stand in total and absolute truth, which ruins the rest of what this movie has to offer in terms of story, performances and overall entertainment-value.
3 / 10 = Crapola!!