The Hunt (2012)

  • The Hunt (2012)
  • Jagten (original title)
  • Certificate 15
  • 115 min  –  Drama  –   30 November 2012 (UK)
  • Director:
  • Thomas Vinterberg
  • Writers:
  • Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
  • Stars:
  • Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen and Annika Wedderkopp

This is an incredibly thought-provoking film dealing with a sensitive subject. Our UK news has been filled of late with accusations of child abuse and it is timely to consider the questions:  ‘ How can we balance the vigilance needed to protect our children from predators, and the belief that an individual is innocent until proved guilty?‘ and ‘What are the consequences if someone is falsely accused?‘.

Here a teacher is subjected to the consequences of just such a false accusation. How the community, his family, workmates and friends react to the accusation is both fascinating and moving. This film is never clichéd, there is a subtle insight into human nature which at times makes you want to shout out at the screen and at other times cry.

Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Lucas a man who will not back down is never overstated but is still powerful. The same lightness of touch is also present in the treatment of the accuser. Even though we know that Klara (played by Annika Wedderkopp) has lied the audience is never encouraged to blame or dislike her. A mention should also be made of the complex portrayal of Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen)  Lucas’s best friend and Father of Klara. No one is demonised.

I think that anyone who has suffered unjust persecution or discrimination will find that this film rings true in its portrayal of the irrational, paranoid actions which can so easily be fanned from a spark to a flame. The film also shows how the victim of bullying and persecution can themselves react emotionally in ways that worsen their situation such as turning on those who might otherwise offer comfort and support.

The Hunt was backed independently by Swedish and Danish production companies.Rightly Mads Mikkelsen won the award for Best Actor and Charlotte Bruus Christensen the Vulcain Prize of the Technical Artist  for outstanding cinematography at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in 2012 I hope that despite the fact that it is subtitled people will make an effort to go and see it. Although harrowing it is certainly one of the best films I have seen in some time. At the showing I attended the audience left unusually quietly. It is that kind of film, not an easy film to watch but one that has an impact on you.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

 

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