The Hunt Movie Review
One of the best entries of 2013, The Hunt is a powerful drama that expertly captures how a tiny lie can quickly ruin a life. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a teacher working in a small Danish town. Despite being loved by his students, Lucas is quickly forced out of the school following an accusation of a sexual nature. He must watch his life crumble around him as the town's hysteria created by the accusation grows. Without even allowing Lucas a moment to defend himself, he is condemned by everyone including his closest friends.
The Hunt is a strong indictment of the mob mentality or the guilty-no-matter-what view that seems to have infected society and many events in our world today. You could see Nancy Grace and the like right at home with this close-minded crowd. Even from the first frame, director Thomas Vinterberg makes you question Lucas and develops the claustrophobic nature of the community he is a part of. Following the accusation, the hopelessness of his situation is overbearing. No matter what he does to prove his innocence the seed has been planted and can never be fully removed.
Mads Mikkelsen delivers one of the most engaging and heartbreaking performances of the year. It was not until towards the end that I fully appreciate his subtle and passive approach to the character. I wanted to scream for him to be more aggressive in his own defense, but came to recognize the near futility with doing so. The supporting cast, including Annika Wedderkopp, who plays the young girl Klara, is excellent as well.
Much like Notes on a Scandalor Atonement, The Hunt succeeds by milking the ultimate tension from every scene. I actually found myself holding my breath in certain scenes. Vinterberg utilizes his remarkable natural style to make this truly feel like a story that can happen anywhere.
While not a light film in any regard, The Hunt strikes an incredible emotional chord and is a must watch. It's also worth noting that the co-writer of the film, Tobias Lindholm, wrote and directed one of the other strong films of 2013, A Hijacking, which is also well worth checking out.
Movie review by Random FilmJabber Guy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.