Rating: 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

“The Hunting Party”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Weinstein

A ‘Party’ you’ve been to before

If you believe everything you see on television or in the newspapers, you’re a fool. That’s the basic idea that drives “The Hunting Party” into painful obviousness. Director Richard Shepard (“The Matador”) doesn’t extend the film beyond a mundane observation we’ve all made at one time or another.

The film follows the stories of foreign-news correspondents who cover war and the devastation of post-war nations. Simon (Richard Gere, “The Hoax”) is the best wartime American reporter, and his sidekick, cameraman Duck (Terrence Howard, “The Brave One”), follows him into the heaviest of shit storms. Simon’s conscience breaks when he can no longer stand the brutality he witnesses while covering the conflict in early-’90s Bosnia. After Duck receives a promotion and the war ends, he returns to Eastern Europe and runs into a run-down, desperate Simon, who claims to have a source leading them to the location of the most-wanted war criminal from the previous conflict.

In the process we get this: The international effort to track down war criminals is half-assed, the United Nations is a joke and don’t believe everything you hear. It reverts to the classic fallback with international investigation stories: The United States government is behind everything.

Luckily, “who is responsible for what” and “where the bad guy is” are not the points of “The Hunting Party.” It’s about truth and belief therein. The opening intertitle of the movie reads: “Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true.” Considering how absurd the ensuing tale turns out to be, most of this dubious movie should be true, but hey, don’t believe everything you’d told.

ELIE ZWIEBEL

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