Running Time 110 minutes
Director Thomas Vinterberg
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
Thomas Vinterberg raises some powerful issues in a situation where a lie can spin violently out of control.
The story is situated in a close community in rural Denmark where everyone knows everyone. The Hunt is very realistic; it is harsh and unforgiving in its storytelling. Vinterberg touches on some sensitive issues and isn’t afraid to see them through.
Everything seems to be going relatively well for Lucas he has a large group of friends; he enjoys his job at a local school and is in a new relationship with local co-worker Nadja. But all of this changes when Theo, Lucas’s best friend’s daughter Klara becomes upset when Lucas returns a gift showing affection.
Klara is now withdrawn and informs the head teacher at school that Lucas has exposed himself in front of her. Although he is innocent in this situation, it all begins to spiral out of control rapidly as more of the children at the school seem to be joining in on the story, soon the tale becomes a much bigger issue as the parents in this predicament agree that “children never lie” – thus they want to protect their children as much as possible, like anybody would and with any means they deem necessary and although I do not agree with their actions, I understood the reasons behind them which is what makes The Hunt such a powerful statement.
Lucas is now being shunned for what the local community believe that he has done, becoming an outcast, people who were his friends have now become his enemies and they are now throwing all of their hatred in his direction. One scene shows a refusal to serve him in his local shop; his defence ends horribly, showing how savage and cruel people can really be. This escalates even further when the shop owner even tells Lucas’s son that he must also shop elsewhere, furthering the issue of discrimination.
Lucas becomes completely detached from a community he was once in the heart of; he’s unwelcome and knows it. But on Christmas Eve he visits the church with the rest of the village creating an emotional scene of confrontation between Lucas and Theo for the whole town to witness.
Mads Mikkelsen portrays his role convincingly and passionately for which he received a well-deserved award at Cannes for best Actor, I felt tremendously sorry for Lucas and more than once I clenched my fists in anger often feeling like I couldn’t make it to the end, but I forced myself to and I certainly don’t regret it, it’s a masterpiece of honesty and gritty realism, showing how a small lie can lead to disastrous consequences
In the end we are forced to consider the obvious question; which side would I agree with in a circumstance such as this? It is also clear from the ending sequence that Lucas will never manage to escape the twisted lies which now wrongly define him.