Home > Reviews > THE HUNTING PARTY – Rolfe Kent


September 7, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The aftermath of the war in Bosnia still lingers, twelve years after the conflict officially ended. People there still remember the atrocities committed by the combatants, and some of the individuals who took part in them are still at large. This difficult political situation is the jumping off point of director Richard Shepard’s action/drama/thriller The Hunting Party, which stars Jesse Eisenberg, Terrence Howard and Richard Gere as a trio of journalists who, without the knowledge of the US government, embark on an unauthorized mission to Bosnia to find The Fox (Ljubomir Kerekeš), a notorious war criminal who remains free somewhere in the former Yugoslavia. However, once in the Balkans, the group finds itself in danger when they are mistaken for a CIA hit squad, and The Fox decides to wipe them out before they can find him.

By all accounts, Rolfe Kent had quite a bit of trouble coming up with the right hook, the right sound, for The Hunting Party. Virtually all of his twenty or so major movies to date have been comedies, or had some kind of comedic element to them, so to tackle a subject as serious and dramatic as the war in Bosnia is a new challenge. Fortunately, he was up to the task, delivering one of the most impressive scores of his career. Recorded in Sofia with the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, and featuring an intoxicating combo of modern rock elements and vaguely middle-Eastern sounding ethnic elements, Kent’s score conjures up imagery of a dangerous world at the cultural crossroads between East and West, ancient and modern.

The opening “The Hunting Party Hits the Road” captures this dichotomy perfectly; later cues, such as surprisingly sexy “The Drive Up to Celebici”, the sinister “Telling of the Fox”, and the powerful finale “Catch and Release”, maintain the enticing blend of different musical worlds to excellent effect, and make superb use of various cimbaloms, balalaikas, duduks, and other now-familiar instrumental touches.

Elsewhere, Kent provides the listener with some surprisingly meaty action music (“Pursuit of the Orange Cars”, “Deadly Ride”), and plentiful amount of suspenseful drama (“Kidnapped”, “Bound, Gagged, and Ready to Die”), but tempers it with some emotional string and solo guitar writing, most notably in “Duck Reunited With Simon”, “How Simon Met Marta”, “Simon Discovers Marta in the Rubble”. Odd as it may sound, but this is almost the kind of music one can imagine Kent writing if he was ever asked to score a Bond movie – on more than one occasion, Kent adopts a tone strikingly similar to some of the music John Barry wrote in his 007 heyday, especially in his use of brass, which is pleasing indeed.

Anyone familiar with the likes of the Legally Blonde series, or Kent’s scores for Lindsay Lohan movies like Mean Girls or Freaky Friday will be surprised at how different this score sounds; personally, I think that’s a great thing.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • The Hunting Party Hits the Road (1:07)
  • The Doctor is Everywhere (1:24)
  • Duck Reunited with Simon (2:09)
  • Kidnapped! (1:06)
  • The Drive Up to Celebici (2:12)
  • Telling of the Fox (0:55)
  • Persuading Duck (1:05)
  • How Simon Met Marta (3:44)
  • A Killer Called Srdjan (1:45)
  • Back to Sarajevo (1:57)
  • The Fox Hunts/Foca/Don’t Touch Him! (1:16)
  • Boris and The UN Conspiracy (1:16)
  • Simon Discovers Marta in the Rubble (1:27)
  • She’s Gone/Simon’s Loss (0:54)
  • Pursuit of the Orange Cars (2:26)
  • Meeting Boris in the Tunnel (1:54)
  • Fooling the Informant (1:23)
  • Deadly Ride (1:57)
  • Trust Nobody (0:55)
  • Bound, Gagged, and Ready to Die (3:28)
  • Airlifted Out… and Running Back In (3:38)
  • Catch and Release (4:34)
  • I Fought the Law (performed by Nirvan Pisoljevic) (2:43)
  • Barra Barra (performed by Rachid Taha) (5:47)
  • Putsi, Putsi Modu (performed by Zdravko Colic) (3:50)
  • The Juicer (performed by The Sweet) (3:09)
  • It’s a Bad Situation in a Beautiful Place (performed by Two Tons of Love (Dos Chicanos Mas)) (2:31)
  • Village Song (performed by Brian Keane and Omar Faruk Tekbilek) (4:17)

Running Time: 64 minutes 49 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-339462 (2007)

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