Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of making my own 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.


Week Seventy: The Hunting Party

This past week, I watched a movie called The Hunting Party that I wanted to see for a long time. The main reason I was curious about it is the participation of an actor named Mitchell Ryan who I have been lucky enough to get to know and to include as a guest at my western film festival last year. I was delighted that Mitch has a significant supporting role in this one. Unfortunately the film does not quite live up to his performance. The main reason for this is a terrible decision to give lead actor Oliver Reed an American accent. I have never understood accents in movies especially ones where it would have worked perfectly fine to have the actor speak in his or her original voice. Oliver Reed has a great voice and it is completely ruined by this dumb decision. Furthermore, the movie is far too influenced by spaghetti westerns of the time and some of these stylistic choices distract from what starts out as a fascinating story. Gene Hackman, my second favorite actor ever, is quite good in the film. The movie opens in a shocking way with him raping his wife. From then on he is quite a brutal character. I was surprised at some of the harsh scenes in the movie and reminded that I feel maker could probably not get away with these representations today. There is some good action, some good moments, but overall this film is a disappointment, especially the ending which is bleak without deserving to be so.