The Hunt (2012)

Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm,
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent...
  • 8.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Tobias Lindholm, Writer:
  • Thomas Vinterberg, Director:
  • Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann, Producer:

Trailer:

10 / 10

Emotionally draining but truly moving "ripped from the headlines" story

"The Hunt" is the latest unflinching drama from Danish auteur Thomas Vinterberg. Co-written with Tobias Lindholm, this is an ambitious star vehicle for legendary actor Mads Mikkelsen, an icon in Denmark and familiar face around the world as well. He plays Lucas, a small-town kindergarten teacher. At its heart the story is ultimately a powerful comment on prejudice, based on true incidents, that may leave you emotionally drained but truly moved.

To delve into the plot here would reveal too much. So I'll just say that the film is quite dark and deals with some very difficult subject matter that can be very hard to watch at times. I'll leave it to you to decide if you want to be more aware of the details by looking up a basic synopsis.

This is essentially a one-man show. While supporting cast members are all up to the challenge, Lucas is on on screen virtually every moment of the movie and its overall success rises or falls on his believability. Mikkelsen's delicately underplayed characterization of a man under fire likely won't be appreciated or understood by all viewers. His restrained performance is remarkable and does much to make The Hunt a haunting, memorable experience. Among the children, Annika Wedderkopp's portrayal of Klara is frighteningly brilliant. She steals every scene she's in.

The physical beauty of the production belies the ugliness beneath. Natural lighting is used to match the heights and depths of the kindergarten children's emotions. Their innocence is reflected in its intensity. When surrounded by love, they are glowing. The color palette is warm and inviting. As fear rises, they appear in shadow. The tableau turns increasingly darker as the narrative does.

This is a very quiet and thoughtful experience in many ways. Nikolaj Egelund's score is sparse. Editors Janus Billeskov Jansen and Anne ?sterud keep the pace measured and deliberate. The focus is on the story. Long takes without dialogue are quite effective as so much is said in the eyes, in the faces, of Lucas, the kids, and townsfolk. Cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen allows the lush landscape of the Danish countryside to lull the viewer into a sense of peace, in contrast with the turmoil just under the surface, ready to jump out like a demon in a horror film. But these are real life nightmares, not the product of a genre writer's imagination, which chill to the bone.

Hollywood could never touch this subject and have anywhere near the impact. Backed independently by Swedish and Danish production companies, director Vinterberg actually intended to set and shoot the picture in Canada but better tax incentives and financing led him back to his native country of Denmark. It doesn't matter, though. This is the kind of isolated little village that can be found anywhere in the world.

"The Hunt" was easily the saddest film I've seen all year but in a cathartic way that only a great work of art can accomplish. It's a gritty and hard-hitting statement on our judgmental society that pulls no punches in its recounting of a controversial ripped-from-the-headlines story, repeated all too often in recent history, that's both poignant and polarizing in its authenticity.

It was difficult for me to hold back tears during the screening. I broke down several times. Many will be touched by certain scenes more than others, but "The Hunt" is one of the most affecting and emotional films I've ever seen and one of the best of 2012.

9 / 10

Excellent, moving film

I saw this movie yesterday. I agree with previous reviewers, this is an excellent, moving, wonderfully acted movie. It is impossible I think to go through it without being brought to tears at one point or another. You also feel like screaming at some characters sometimes - "what are you doing? Open your eyes! Listen!" But the great thing is you always understand where each character is coming from- you might not agree with their actions, but nothing they do feels forced or unrealistic. Mikkelsen is amazing in this. I had seen him in a few movies before, and always thought highly of him, but here he is just incredible. It's a tough subject matter, and the movie does not shy away from it, but at the same time it is not vulgar or "in your face", it's tactful. I really loved it.

10 / 10

This is a Film with a capital "F"

I've been an IMDb user for several years. Still, this is my first review.

After watching this Film, I just felt the urge to praise it. So here it is: thanks to the writer, director, actors and all those who created this masterpiece. It really has the power to convey real feelings to the watcher. Even though I kept telling to myself it was just a movie, it still made me care for the characters.

It's a shame that such Films are not promoted as they should be. I am so sorry I had no idea about Danish cinematography until now. This movie will make stay alert for any new Danish production and look for older ones in a desperate try to recover what you could've experienced instead of all the commercial movie offer of Hollywood.

9 / 10

Who would have thought a Danish Art House film could be so thoroughly gripping?

'The Hunt' is a truly accomplished film, its simple premise and themes are executed perfectly. The film is hugely engrossing and completely and utterly infuriating, which is a testament to the merits of its acting, direction, script and hyper-realism.

The film follows Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a lonely primary school teacher who relishes his job and is popular with both the children and the local community. Just as he meets Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport) and begins a relationship with her, his relationship with another woman, 5-year-old Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), lands him in immeasurable trouble. What happens is a completely innocuous misunderstanding, but the community, the 'adults' who are supposed to be rational and fair, turn into a lynch mob.

The film is about the danger of mass-hysteria, ignorance and subsequently the frightening power of numbers. It teaches the importance of measure and consideration; it's a much needed anecdote to the sensational vilification, general ignorance and trashy media that permeates our lives.

It's the scare-mongering, amoral tabloids that help in empowering the dangerously ignorant lynch-mobs that arise whenever someone screams 'paedophile!' or 'woman beater!' These lynch-mobs normally consist of pugnacious, dreadful people who enjoy drama and violence rather than actually care about their cause.

The film is intelligently and thoughtfully written. The girl is by no means vindictive; as much as you want to vent your anger, she's clearly far too young to understand what is happening. It's the 'adults' who display their stupidity, their total lack of reasoning and fairness left me indignant for the entirety of the running time and subsequently the whole evening – the film really works.

There is a palpable sense of danger throughout the film, you genuinely fear for Lucas' life; seldom have I empathised with a character so dearly. Who would've thought a Danish Art House film could be so thoroughly gripping?

'The Hunt' is a thought provoking, tactful and important film that should be seen by as many people as possible. It's one of the best films of 2012.

www.hawkensian.com

9 / 10

It's like a really messed up episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things.

I just saw The Hunt at the New Zealand International Film Festival and I walked out speechless. The Hunt has such a difficult story to tell but the film makers never go too far with little exposition. The film doesn't take one side over another, making the point that there isn't really any "bad guys" in the film, just people on opposite sides of one coin. The script is shocking, tragic and at times funny. The film is very intimately shot with an almost documentary approach. The film is mostly shot hand-held, giving you the feeling of realism. The camera likes to get in close and hold on the actors eyes and it is the eyes that tell the story. Most of the story is told through what was not being said, but instead with looks and pauses. Mads Mikkelsen is stunning as always as the man accused of sexual abuse. He plays the role with such sensitivity to the character but always keeps you guessing throughout the film. Annika Wedderkopp plays the role of the innocent young girl to perfection, again always keeping you guessing. Their relationship being one of the most interesting I've seen on film this year. If I had one complaint it would be that the main plot ends quite abruptly, not leaving me fully satisfied before it goes into the epilogue. The Hunt is drama at its best with beautiful performances from the entire cast. It is hard to explain how great this film is without giving away spoilers but the film gives no clear answers for such a difficult subject and it makes you ask yourself, what would I do?