***/**** Image A Sound A Extras B
starring Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen, Jenna Boyd
screenplay by David Griffiths & Peter Griffiths and Art Monterastelli
directed by William Friedkin
FRIEDKIN: FILMS OF ABERRATION, OBSESSION AND REALITY
FFC rating: 9/10
written by Thomas D. Clagett
by Walter Chaw Hot on the heels of Bruce Willis's bwana wish-fulfillment fantasy Tears of the Sun comes William Friedkin's The Hunted, a film that introduces its titular fugitive in a flashback to Kosovo at the height of the Albanian genocide. The parsing of historical atrocity functioning as shorthand for backstory to what is essentially a pretentious action movie is distasteful, the insertion into that history of elite American soldiers righting wrongs un-righted to this day a kind of unspeakable arrogance late unique of Yankee cloth. That being said, The Hunted is a cheerfully ridiculous movie that manages over the course of its running time to entertain with a series of action set-pieces that recall Friedkin's work in The French Connection. Though riddled with plot impossibilities and stunning coincidences, the picture, courtesy, perhaps, of Caleb Deschanel's magnificent cinematography, reminds of the nearness of nature and violence of John Boorman's Deliverance; of the kineticism of Doug Liman's The Bourne Identity; and of the premise and execution of a little-read Rex Miller novel called S.L.O.B.. If it also reminds of the creaky Abraham/Oedipus by way of Robert Bly wilderness dynamic of Mamet's appalling The Edge, so be it: the fun parts outweigh the infuriating ones.