The Hunt (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012): Denmark
Reviewed by Samuel Ek. Viewed on November 5th at AFI Filmfest
Thomas Vinterberg has already made a name for himself in the Dogme circuits with movies like The Celebration back in 1998. He has since then moved away from that dying artform and has made a name for himself making a couple of semi decent movies such as It’s All about Love in 2002. That is all going to be irrelevant in contrast to the masterpiece that is now showing in the theaters. Out of all of the movies I watched at AFI filmfestival, The Hunt is with out a doubt the most gripping and interesting one and I definitely recommend watching this one in case your brain wants to watch a multilayered movie with great performances from the whole cast. Especially from Mads Mikkelsen who adds to his already legendary status as a great actor as he rightly won the Best Male Performance award at the Cannes film festival this year for his portrayal of the unjustly accused and harassed kindergarten teacher Lucas in this movie.
Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a former high school teacher in a small village in Denmark who had to take a job at the local kindergarten when the school had to close down. He lives alone in a tightly knit community where everyone knows everyone and he’s well liked by all of them. That is until he gets accused by Klara, adorably played by young Annika Wedderkopp in her acting debut, one of the young children at the kindergarten of sexualIy abusing her and other kids. What follows is another hour and half of hard hitting assumptions and betrayal of trust.
This movie portrays the horrible position of being falsely accused of something and how it at some point stop being relevant whether or not your are innocent. You are still going to have to carry that mark on your back based on peoples assumptions. The movie climaxes in the church scene taking place on christmas eve when the whole village has gathered in the church to celebrate and Lucas shows up and confronts his best friend who is also the father of Klara. This scene is covered in great performances that really evoked the emotion of the people in the theater. Vinterbergs use of natural light might be a remnant of his old days a a Dogme director, but they really help add a certain kind of softness and innocence to the movie which is brilliantly complemented by the original soundtrack by Nikolaj Egelund.
Seeing Mikkelsens portrayal of the innocent and soft Lucas is really a refreshing breath of air compared to the tough bad boy roles we are used to see him in such as in Mordkommisionen, Clash of Titans and Casino Royal. I don’t say this lightly, but this movie and Mads Mikkelsen in particular deserves an Academy Award Nomination because I believe that The Hunt is the best thing to come out of Denmark since the invention of LEGO. So to conclude, yes. You should definitely go see this movie.