LFF 2012: The Hunt | Film reviews, news & interviews
LFF 2012: The Hunt
In Thomas Vinterberg’s blistering drama a fog of doubt sweeps through a small town
Featuring a towering, Cannes-award-winning performance from Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt (Jagten) is a humane and horrifying story of the power of accusation from Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (Festen).
Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a kindergarten teacher in a Danish village. Though he’s a natural with the kids and is popular and connected locally, he’s a taciturn, somewhat enigmatic figure whose recent divorce has left him alone and missing his son. When his best friend’s tiny daughter Klara (Annika Wedderkopp) develops a crush on him, his rejection of her causes her to blurt out the most damaging of lies - that he has abused her. To add catastrophic insult, the school’s principal Grethe (Susse Wold) mishandles the matter spectacularly, resulting in a presumption of guilt and even the suggestion that other children have been targeted.
The Hunt highlights the vulnerability of those in the teaching profession to such accusations. It’s a prosaic horror story which puts a small community under a stark microscope. This is a modern day witch-hunt, presented as if it could happen anywhere. Vinterberg's film gets plenty of mileage out of the guilelessness of the catalyst Klara – making a focus of her uncomprehending face, and out of Lucas’ dignity in the face of extreme provocation. There’s never any doubt that he is an innocent man; in fact we are shown quite clearly how the idea formed in Klara’s mind. The Hunt’s strength lies in the potency of the injustice, and the raw cinematic force of Mikkelsen.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Schwarzenegger grins through a grim resurrection for the franchise
Profoundly depressing scrutiny of the ascent and decline of Amy Winehouse
A major BFI retrospective marks the centenary of the director's birth
Teen horror with a kind but chilling heart
Boundary-pushing documentaries were among strong offerings in the festival's closing days
Woody Allen haunts Peter Bogdanovich's putative comeback
Swedish depiction of the collapse of male character will make you squirm
Edinburgh puts other festivals in the shade with an amazing array of female filmmakers
British cycling captured on film, from 1899 to 1983
Vienna, the zither, a twist of Lime: Carol Reed's newly restored noir masterpiece returns
Weak documentary about a transcontinental rail journey freighted with art 'happenings'
Masterful McKellen captures the great detective in his twilight years