- Director:Thomas Vinterberg
- Cast:Thomas Bo Larsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Annika Wedderkopp
- Release Date:May 02, 2013
- Running time:116 minutes
- Film Worth:$18.00
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Gripping and powerful storytelling driven by Mads Mikkelsen’s restrained but deeply affecting lead turn.
Danish filmmaker, Thomas Vinterberg, returns to the quietly explosive territory of his impressive breakout feature, 1998’s Festen, with The Hunt, which chronicles a man wrongfully accused of sexual abuse. There’s no ambiguity over his innocence, and we watch helplessly as a good man’s life is ripped apart by false allegations. It’s a simple story, but Vinterberg frames it with shattering power, clarity and composure.
Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) is Lucas, a melancholy but generous-hearted kindergarten teacher, whose spirits are lifted when he learns that his teenage son is coming to live with him. But trouble unknowingly begins to brew when Lucas deftly deflects what he believes is the harmless crush of the daughter (Annika Wedderkopp) of his best friend (Thomas Bo Larsen). This moment of wounded pride sees the young girl inadvertently accuse Lucas of sexual abuse, and while she attempts to retract the statement, her words fall on deaf ears as the community has already deemed him guilty.
This nightmarish and all too realistic story is about the frightening way in which lies and innuendo can quickly become cemented as public fact, and how the closest of bonds can be so easily broken. The fact that a confused young girl – protected by the innocence of her age – is the catalyst of this storm makes the situation all the more tragic. As the man who loses everything, Mikkelsen is devastating. For the most part, Lucas keeps his emotions under a tight lid, but in two scenes – at a supermarket and church – his rage, and ours, is uncorked with heart-wrenching results. This is unshakeable storytelling, which is fitting for a film that reveals how certain damage can never be undone.