Connect with us
The Hunt 2012 film review
Image: Nordisk Film

Film

The Hunt— A Painful, Frightening Film with a Powerhouse Performance by Mads Mikkelsen

A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.

Revisiting The Hunt, 10 Years Later

Although director Thomas Vinterbeg’s The Hunt redoubles on well-trodden material explicating the dangerousness of convicting without evidence or investigation, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Flame and Citron, Casino Royale, Valhalla Rising) profoundly visualizes just how excruciating the character assassination of a good man displaced by society’s rush to judgment can be. The role of Lucas, a personable and caring kindergarten teacher gives Mikkelsen the opportunity to spin movingly from a relatively content, ordinary man minding his own business to a man who has had almost every conceivable thing worth living for stripped away. Existing in the absence of any kind of existential meaning behind this punishment, Mikkelsen’s Lucas fights nobly and with what little self-worth he can still muster to push back against the overwhelming tide of indiscriminate hate. It’s a harrowing emotional battle that leaves one with a strange sense of reverence for the beleaguered teacher, his integrity intact in spite of the world literally turning its back on him.

Mikkelsen at first conveys an almost serene sense of calm in knowing that nothing transpired between him and a little pupil named Klara that could remotely constitute sexual abuse. Gently jilted after kissing her teacher Lucas, Klara tells the head of the school Grethe (Susse Wold) that Lucas has done something to her. Horrified and at once behind the child’s words, Grethe immediately takes the investigation over Lucas’ head without giving him a chance to defend himself. The rumor is regarded as truth and gathers steam as the imaginations of parents and children run wild. As allegations give way to further unsubstantiated accusations and enraged retaliatory actions, everyone but his teenage son abandons him. The original allegation is never thoroughly investigated by the community or police. A madness over an inferred damage to the children’s innocence whips members of the town into a violent frenzy when they encounter him. His isolation is immediate and caustic. Mikkelsen’s face starts to contort with each passing blow. Tired tears gather with the mounting loneliness and nostrification. That his friends are so quick to turn on him without hearing out his side of the story or giving loyalty to him a second thought, unquestionably starts to gnaw at him when it’s clear that there won’t be anyone coming to his defense. We stay with Lucas as his life collapses around him seemingly without reason. The film is perhaps a bit too one-sided in having everyone so callously flee from him but in matters concerning the safety of children the public is quick to condemn, slow to exonerate.

The Hunt 2012 movie
Image: Nordisk Film

The ominous score and deluge of hostility hold the viewer in a vice grip of disillusion. Affecting too is how the quietness of the movie is intermittently invaded by an incredibly authentic sense that real harm can be perpetrated against Lucas which no one would rush to stop. Dread for Lucas’ future pervades every scene. How can someone carry on when a black mark of suspicion will always be cast upon them? This indictment could happen to anyone and to a good person. The presumption that pure innocence couldn’t possibly produce such a lie is a terrifying thought. To protect children, we must be able to trust what they say. And if they lie on such a level, what does it say about how they were raised? The reactions of the adults paint the community as an ignorant mob whose close-mindedness is cemented by their lack of empathy and unwillingness to listen. They feel justified in their rage do everything in their modicum of power to belittle and degrade Lucas. Now that the allegation is out there, it can never be retracted. He is a man forever marked. This is not a storm this can be ridden out, it is to be weathered throughout a lifetime. He can only live for himself, his son and take solace that he knows he didn’t do anything. Mikkelsen is keenly adept at playing men who are ruthlessly violent but his warm-hearted Lucas, a man dismantled from the inside out – somehow remains relatable and strong even when irrevocably broken through no fault of his own.

– Lane Scarberry

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published under our old brand, Sound On Sight.

Watch The Hunt

Now Streaming

Written By

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pop Culture From All Angles

Sordid Cinema Podcast

Trending

Revisiting the 24 Best Kobe Bryant Moments Revisiting the 24 Best Kobe Bryant Moments

Revisiting the 24 Best Kobe Bryant Moments

TV

Kobe Bryant Death Kobe Bryant Death

Kobe Bryant and Greatness

TV

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

Wrestling

Calendar Girls performing in a parking lot. Calendar Girls performing in a parking lot.

Calendar Girls: A Remarkable Debut About Reclaiming Your Life

Film

Who is still alive in Yellowjackets?

TV

Archive 81, Pictured: Mamoudou Athie Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix © 2021 Archive 81, Pictured: Mamoudou Athie Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix © 2021

The Analog Terror of Archive 81

TV

For He Is a Liar and the Father of Lies For He Is a Liar and the Father of Lies

The Righteous Gemstones: “For He Is a Liar and the Father of Lies” Muddies the Holy Water

TV

Censor review 2021 horror movie Censor review 2021 horror movie

Sordid Cinema Podcast #609: Why Censor is one of the Best Horror Films of 2021

Sordid Cinema Podcast

All That Breathes All That Breathes

All That Breathes Shows an Ecosystem in Turmoil

Film

The Book of Boba Fett review "The Gathering Storm" Chapter 4 episode The Book of Boba Fett review "The Gathering Storm" Chapter 4 episode

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 4 Builds and Fulfills With a Storm of Excitement

TV

How I Met Your Father Just Doesn’t Have the Magic

TV

Leonor Will Never Die Leonor Will Never Die

Leonor Will Never Die is a Heartfelt Ode to Cinema

Film

Connect