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Parents' Guide to

The Hunting Party

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Hunt for war criminal full of violence, language.

Movie R 2007 103 minutes
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Inspired by a 2000 Esquire magazine article by Scott Anderson, Richard Shepard's The Hunting Party begins with a snarky caution against believing what you see. "Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true," it advises, yet it generally distrusts viewers to keep up without prodding at every turn. While you could argue that sentimentalizing Simon's original breakdown (it has to do with a lost romance, in brutal fashion) makes a case for his core morality, the effect is to cheapen his investment in what he's calling "truth." The Fox's story is personal for Simon, and so the film loses sight of the context it would seem to care so much about -- the Fox's victims, the Bosnian Muslims and Croats who were raped, tortured, dismembered, and killed.

The story of the Fox -- which indicts international wheelers and dealers who profit from such a man's evasion of "justice," as well as the world leaders who benefit from his fearsome legend -- is obviously meant to suggest both Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Osama Bin Laden. More than once, The Hunting Party raises the specter of Chuck Norris as an example of the cartoonish embodiment of revenge and heroism. Such plots and heroes surely need satirizing, especially as they continue to inform political and military endeavors. Still, The Hunting Party plays smug, ensuring that it misses a range of deserving targets while picking off the easy ones.

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