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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » The Hunt (2013)
The Hunt (2013)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // July 12, 2013
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted July 11, 2013 | E-mail the Author
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Regardless of the country in question, crimes against children are usually the most shocking. They gain national, and sometimes international, attention. People follow the various trials on television and the radio, which causes a lot of public conversation. The blame is easier to place during some cases than others. It doesn't matter what the verdict is, since the public has already created an image for that individual that will never fade. Writer/Director Thomas Vinterberg and writer Tobias Lindholm convey how manic people can become, even though they're simply assuming that an individual is guilty of a serious crime. The Hunt was nominated for a BAFTA for "Best Film not in the English Language," but is finally coming to the United States. On July 12th, moviegoers will be able to experience this emotionally intense drama on the big screen.

A man lives an incredibly lonely life, but he finds joy in his job of being a teacher. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) has nothing but good intentions for the children. After spending quite some time fighting over his son's custody, everything starts to get better. With his son moving in with him and after meeting a beautiful woman, he finds himself to be incredibly lucky. However, this is soon brutally shattered by a lie from one of his students. After upsetting his best friend's young daughter, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp) she lies to an authority figure by stating that Lucas had exposed himself to her.

The Hunt is a film that adds social commentary. Since children are involved, the situation is a lot more controversial. The public always wants to believe that the child is telling the truth. It can be incredibly difficult for an adult to prove his or her innocence in this situation. Since people will undoubtedly support the young child, the suspect is automatically seen as being guilty without any other evidence. In the case of The Hunt, it can ruin one's entire life. Screenwriters Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm explore an innocent man's downfall caused by the lie of a kid. The focal point of this motion picture is Lucas. He's such a likable character who has his reputation destroyed from this unfortunate circumstance. This moviegoing experience becomes increasingly difficult, since we're watching a man being broken down minute by minute. A person can only take so much before they finally can't take it anymore. Lucas is an extraordinary character that audiences will be able to connect with as an everyday man. This sympathetic role makes it even more difficult and frustrating, since we simply want to see him get out of this situation unharmed. However, we know that isn't going to happen. Regardless of his outcome in court, he's marked for life.

The filmmakers have done an excellent job working with the flow of the dialogue. They have managed to make numerous conversations quite intense. When the authoritative figures speak with Klara about the "incident," audiences are guaranteed to be left incredibly frustrated and anxious. The Hunt might irritate audiences a bit too much, but I can easily respect a motion picture that's able to make its viewers feel such strong feelings throughout. There are specific scenes that will leave you wanting to yell at the screen, but that shows the film's ability to make its viewers genuinely care about its protagonist and his fate. It's unfortunate that stories such as these exist, but it's even worse that any of these accusations are true. In these times, The Hunt tells an important story, but this happens to be centered around a lie. Fortunately, the film presents the plot in a natural and realistic way. It isn't glorified, overly-dramatic, or tacky. This isn't an easy subject matter to depict, but Vinterberg and Lindholm present it appropriately.

After the tragic lie has been spread around town, there are only a few select people who still believe that Lucas is innocent. His son sneaks away from his mother in order to speak with his father. There's a small portion of the film that's told from his perspective, which fits into the feature very well. However, I feel that the film could have allowed for him to be even more involved. Vinterberg and Lindholm present such an excellent representation of a father son relationship, which left me wanting to see more of Lucas' interactions with his son. I understand that The Hunt is about Lucas, but his interactions with others prove to be a powerful asset for the picture.

Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg has an excellent script and an outstanding cast to work with. Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely phenomenal in the role of Lucas. Not only is he entirely captivating through his more emotional sequences, but he's genuine through the more subtle scenes. This isn't Mikkelsen's first great performance, but this simply adds to his collection of brilliant representations. Annika Wedderkopp might be young, but she does a wonderful job as Klara. There aren't very many kid actors who can actually make children genuine, but she delivers an impeccable performance. There isn't a single mediocre role to be found, as Vinterberg gets the best representations possible out of this cast.

The filmmakers had a clear vision for The Hunt's atmosphere. The color palette has drained colors and there are a lot of close-ups. Vinterberg keeps his audience up-close and personal, which allows us to be intimate with every uncomfortable conversation that must be had. The few times there are colors, the cinematography is fully-utiilized with the golden hues, especially through the second half of the running time. Vinterberg doesn't hesitate to keep the camera on his actors and get under our skin by using the visuals and working closely with his actors.

In today's society, this is an important story that happens to be told through a well-crafted piece of filmmaking. The topic is controversial and will surely cause for a great amount of discussion. There aren't very many dramas that clearly encourage its viewers to debate the picture's final scene, as well as its themes. This isn't an easy film to watch, since it invigorates strong emotions. Mads Mikkelsen and Annika Wedderkopp deliver astonishing performances that add to the film's impact. This drama delivers social commentary without becoming preachy or tacky. The Hunt capitalizes on every second of the film's running time, as it doesn't waste any time in delivering intense material. Highly recommended!

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