Mads Mikkelsen is probably best know as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006) or more recently as Hannibal Lecter in the new TV series. In The Hunt, however, returns to his native Denmark in this dramatic thriller. From hard hitting director, Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt displays the dangers of vigilantism, mob mentality and the loss of innocence – not exactly the lightest of themes!
The film centres on Lucas (Mikkelsen) a kindergarten assistant, who lives a quiet life are a bitter divorce and struggle over the custody of his son. With a stable job and friends at every corner, Lucas is a valid member of the close-knit community in which he lives. His life seems to be on the up. However, his life start spiralling out of control after an accusation of sexual misconduct from a little girl in his care. Soon the lie is spread and the community turn their backs on him, while Lucas tries to defend himself from something he didn’t do.
This film attempts to be provocative. Using the themes of paedophilia, it tries to play on peoples fear but I, however, felt it was very bland. It starts off very slow, and does not seem to pick up any pace and appears very repetitive. This film has obviously been made to appear as realistic as possible with its handheld camerawork but its wintry palette makes it feel almost clinical. The films been polished so well that it feels like it’s been made to a strict formula.
There is no denying that the actors in this film are great. Mikkelsen is worthy of the best actor nod from Cannes film festival for his portrayal of a wrongly accused man who can’t escape from the lies being told about him. He presents a pained man, inflicting every line with frustration and confusion. Mikkelsen’s supporting cast are also brilliant, but none compare to the wonderful Annika Wedderkopp who plays the young accuser Klara. I was absolutely blown away by her performance. Such a strong performance from such a young actress is nearly unheard of, she has an undeniable talent – Wedderkopp is going to go far.
While The Hunt for the most part feels believable, the mob mentality almost feels almost twenty years out of date, especially coming from the incredibly democratic Denmark. Director Vinterberg seems to stick to predictable confrontations – a brick thrown through a window, unable to go shopping without getting mobbed – to get his message of not leaping to conclusions across.
This cautionary tale has a fantastic cast, it is just a shame that it moves so slowly. It had the potential to be a great film but the lack of pacing left the hard hitting message lost amongst the clinical scenery.
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