The Hunt (2012)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.

Original title:  Jagten

Denmark, 2012.  Danmarks Radio, Det Danske Filminstitut, Eurimages, Film i Väst, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Nordisk Film- & TV-Fond, Svenska Filminstitutet, Sveriges Television, Zentropa Entertainments, Zentropa International Sweden.  Screenplay by , Thomas Vinterberg.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , Thomas Vinterberg.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

teaches kindergarten in the small town where he grew up, his life a perfectly ordered and pleasant one except for the sorrow of being separated from his son following a bitter divorce.  When a little girl makes a comment about him exposing himself to her inappropriately, his life goes into complete reversal as his guilt is immediately assumed by fellow citizens and things go in predictable places: fired from his job, rocks thrown through windows and inhospitable storekeepers.  Mikkelsen must bear it all with as much strength and control as he can muster, but the ordeal that director Thomas Vinterberg puts him through is not one that even the most grounded and sane person could possibly endure.  This smoothly acted and directed film richly benefits from the fine talent of its lead (deservedly taking home the Best Actor prize at Cannes) and the supporting cast of undetectable actors.  It’s difficult to understand exactly where Vinterberg wants to go with everything he puts his protagonist through, beyond the possibility that it is simply an exercise in high-stakes drama: is it a director showing a contempt for humanity?  It is late in the game before we are treated to anyone taking Mikkelsen’s side, after enjoying a lengthy spate of characters who are either grossly vindictive or maniacally inept (could his school principal possibly have behaved with less skill?  Or the child psychologist who very incorrectly leads the little girl with questions, for that matter?  Did NO ONE watch James Woods as the lawyer for the McMartin Trial?) We as an audience are given undeniable proof of Mikkelsen’s innocence from the very beginning, so this is not an exploration of a man’s moral shades of gray (not to mention that the little girl is given a mental health issue to boot).  This lack of subtlety does not keep it from being a highly compelling experience, however, nor is it the kind of manipulative silliness of Dancer in The Dark; it’s more likely the lament of a filmmaker who wants to believe that things will be okay and that humans are basically good, but experience has taught him otherwise and he can no longer deny it.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Best Actor (Mads Mikkelsen)

European Film Award Best European Screenwriter
Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Actor (Mads Mikkelsen); Best European Director (Thomas Vinterberg); Best European Editor

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Foreign Language Film

One Comment Add yours

  1. Not wanting to spoil the ending for those who have not seen it, I will say I found the ending puzzling. Otherwise, I liked the movie, but felt entirely wrung out after watching it. Intense, it certainly was.

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