Hunting

Failing to deliver on its arty symbolism, HUNTING can best be appreciated as a poison-pen letter to media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. The film's often remarkable visual style can't disguise the fact that its central romance is a rather dull affair. Bored with marriage to her earnest but chronically unemployed hubby Larry (Jeffrey Thomas),...read more

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Failing to deliver on its arty symbolism, HUNTING can best be appreciated as a poison-pen letter to media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner. The film's often remarkable visual style can't disguise the fact that its central romance is a rather dull affair.

Bored with marriage to her earnest but chronically unemployed hubby Larry (Jeffrey Thomas), lowly secretary Michelle Harris (Kerry Armstrong) is swept off her feet when media czar Michael Bergman (John Savage) drops by to take a meeting with her boss. Dazzled by his wealth and impressed by his

knowledge of erogenous zones, this mousy Cinderella blinds herself to her lover's more unsavory personality traits. When Larry makes muffled threats to his cuckolding rival, Bergman clears the field by having Larry killed in a manner suggesting suicide. Whether blackmailing public officials or

gobbling up foreign corporations, the American tycoon indulges his passion for Michelle until she starts to see through his facade.

Worried about over-extending himself financially and angry at Michelle's failure to toe the traditional mistress line, Bergman attempts to buy off his plaything and even beds her best friend. Michelle, however, is too passionate to let go. When she goes too far and insults him at a business

dinner, Bergman puts her in her place by raping her on the table in front of his constituents. Having tired of her lover's sanctimonius appearances on telethons and finally recognizing just how blackhearted Bergman is, Michelle rids the world of the power broker right on the eve of his greatest

business triumph, thus proving that even a media mogul can be stopped with a bullet.

A lot of carefully thought-out cinematography has been lavished on a sex-and-power-as-aphrodisiac yarn that could have been better told at half the length. Instead of exploring the finer points of what makes a workaholic mover and shaker tick and how he deliberately snuffs out his sensitive side,

HUNTING reiterates examples of his power lust and uncontrollable temper.

Although John Savage (INSIDE MOVES, SALVADOR) leaves his boyish image far behind by giving a scarily intense turn as the CEO from Hell, and Jeffrey Thomas is solid in what could be tagged the Liam Neeson role, Kerry Armstrong falls short as the object of everyone's affection. With Armstrong's

pallid presence in the central role, the film falls apart as viewers lose patience with her character--her soul searching comes across as mere whining. You may even ask yourself what makes Michelle so judgmental when she is an adulteress who initially liked wearing cultured pearls and being

screwed by a master manipulator. Staring into the camera but failing to capture viewers with her blank gaze, Amrstrong hardly seems likely to have a man-who's-had-everybody panting for her favors.

Still, not all blame for this film's disintegration rests with Armstrong. Bergman is a one-dimensional villain with not enough shadings to make this battle of the sexes absorbing. Making him such a transparent rotter turns Michelle into a bit of a dope; viewers need to see Bergman's seductive

powers working overtime. Without the added tensions more fleshed-out characters might have provided, HUNTING becomes a cautionary tale about a beauty and a recalcitrant beast who can't be changed by the former's kiss. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations.)

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