Arguably one of the most poignant movies I have seen in recent years. The Hunt is as thought provoking as it is provocative, in both the physical and mental consequences of being falsely accused of a crime. It leaves you pondering over your own deep rooted opinions about how we as a society treat those accused, before and after trial. The Hunt also paints a very vivid and loud picture of the stigmatism those who are falsely accused have to live with, not only in the short term but for the rest of their life.
For sake of your own enjoyment, I do not wish to go into too much detail about the events that take place, or the specific characters that are in this movie, however. Set in a small, idyllic Danish town the director (Thomas Vinterberg) tries and succeeds to create a very tightly knit community, with an ‘everybody knows everyone’ vibe (words to that effect later). We follow Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), an unassuming guy who is going through a tough patch in his life due to circumstances surrounding the custody of his Son, Marcus. Lucas works in the towns nursery and is a lovable, warm character from the off largely due to his adorable relationship he has formed with the children. Mads creates an aura around Lucas that is very approachable, innocent and incredibly avuncular (which in our day in age unfortunately instantly sparks questions with a lot of people). The plot progresses into that of Lucas being informed by his supervisor that he has been accused by an unnamed child (that he is particularly close with in the nursery) of showing them his genitalia. When word spreads throughout the tightly knit community the plot degenerates into a witch-hunt and even Lucas’s closest friends denounce him, one being his best friend Theo (Father of the accusing child). The movie does a great job at depicting a small community in turmoil and several incidences creates this environment, from the refusal to sell Lucas his groceries, to the killing of his dog. As the movie progresses the director does a great job of infuriating the audience through the overwhelming level of protection of the child. As friendships that once seemed unbreakable at the start of the movie are left in tatters and blinded by the false accusation.
You cannot help but take this movie and put it onto a bigger canvas of Scandinavian culture in general in my opinion. The idyllic and apparent pinnacle of modern society norms somewhat fails dramatically in their over liberal mentality. I think it does in fact say something about how children are brought up in Scandinavia, how they are clearly overbearingly spoilt and evidently have too much power over adults.
I am picking on Scandinavia here, however I also believe it applies to most countries in the west and their guilty until proven innocent ideology over such crimes. Still even after proven innocent as this movie clearly depicts you are never truly released from the chains as it were. I think it says a lot about how those accused are treated, names are released instantly to the press and their reputation is left in tatters for the rest of their lives.
Performances to watch out for
Mads Mikkelsen – Lucas
Arguable one of the best and most underrated actors around. Not only can he play a despicable villain in the likes of James Bond and Hannibal, but he can evidently morph into a kind, compassionate and lovable character such as Lucas. As I mentioned before Mads creates an Aura around Lucas which is that of innocence, only adding deeply to the truly saddening ordeal that Lucas has to go through.
Thomas Bo Larsen – Theo
It is the first time I have seen a performance by Thomas and I have to say it is a whole hearted one. You could see he was torn, between trusting his gut instinct or following his wife’s overbearing belief in their daughters story. He translated the pain and trauma that he was going through very well.
This movie is a beautiful illustration of some major flaws in modern day societies norms. The first being the way in which society as a whole treats those accused of a crime (they may not have committed) and the impacts that it has on an individuals life in the short and long term. another being the incessant, overbearing shift towards making children evermore the complete centre of attention, during every second of the day. A very organically flowing plot, with well explored characters, you care about each and ever one in their own ways. Coupled with some incredible, stand out performance, this makes for a must needed watch. A true eye opener! 9/10