Review by Jordan
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
A solitary lie can be a dangerous thing. Like a virus it can spread and multiply until the truth is nothing more than a distant memory, invisible amongst growing hysteria and a sense of panic and outrage. When Lucas, a nursery teacher recovering from a broken marriage and in the progress of regaining custody of his estranged son, is accused of doing the unspeakable to a child in his care (the wonderful Annika Wedderkopp), his life is turned on its head; friendships are destroyed, loyalties tested and a gracefully improving life blackened once again.
We are never made to question Lucas’ innocence, and it isn’t until close to the half-way point of the film that Lucas is even made aware of what he is said to have done. He becomes a man that could so easily give in to the immense pressure mounted on him, but instead showcases his love for the few remaining bright sparks in his life (his faithful dog being a highlight of the film) and endeavours to clear his name and be close to them. There is no shortage of confrontational scenes, and events that transpire inside a supermarket and later a church will certainly draw any viewer to the edge of their seat.
Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt may well the most powerful and accomplished drama of recent times; the structure employed is simplistic and linear but the performances of the entire cast (Mads Mikkelsen won Best Actor at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival) drive it into the elite bracket of gut-wrenching storytelling. The way in which an innocent crush turns into a small-town nightmare is devastating to watch, but always enthralling and never outlandish – this is a film that will make you question the trust that your friends have towards you, and the very foundations upon which your life is based. Aside from Mikkelsen and Wedderkopp, Thomas Bo Larsen is outstanding as Lucas’ childhood friend and father of the accuser and Lasse Fogelstrom provides an authentic and textured performance as his son, Marcus, who chooses to stand by his father when most would not.
I watched this film with a few fellow film lovers, after already viewing other treats in Jaume Balaguero’s Sleep Tight and the fantastic documentary Room 237, and the discussion it instigated I’d not had the pleasure of for some time; the ending in particular sparking a number of different opinions/interpretations. There is one thing however that is made certain, which is that when you are effectively branded with a stigma you will be forever burdened by it, no matter how much you object.