Review: The Hunt (2013)

  • Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
  • Written by: Tobias Lindholm & Thomas Vinterberg
  • Original Danish Title: Jagten

Every now and again a movie comes along, that will shake you to your core. The kind of movie that will make you think for days. A movie that will leave a lasting impression. There is a popular Danish proverb that goes something like this: “you will hear the truth from drunk people and children,” and Thomas Vinterberg’s latest film definitely challenges that common saying. The Danish director of films such as 1998’s The Celebration has tackled a challenging subject-matter head-on with his latest film, The Hunt. The Hunt is that type of movie. It is an infuriating and heart-wrenching masterpiece, but I also think that this astounding conversation-starter is one of the best Danish films ever made.  This is, undoubtedly, a must-watch movie.

And that’s largely due to Mads Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a popular kindergarten teacher who gets ripped out of his regular life when his friend’s daughter, Klara (played by Annika Wedderkopp), tells a terrible lie about him. This is a film about a male kindergarten teacher that is wrongfully accused of sexual abuse. Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely amazing as Lucas. Mikkelsen rightfully won the Cannes Film Festival award for ‘Best Actor,’ as he has delivered a deeply moving and harrowing performance as a punished victim looking for a way out of the darkness. This is a career-best performance from Mads Mikkelsen. The Danish thespian is outstanding here.

But although Mikkelsen’s performance is undoubtedly the most impressive in the film, there are notable supporting performances that help Mikkelsen and Vinterberg make this film what it is. First and foremost, I have to say that I was very impressed with Annika Wedderkopp. I imagine that it can be difficult to direct untrained child actors, but Vinterberg and his casting director made a wise choice in selecting Wedderkopp. I think you also have to highlight Thomas Bo Larsen’s performance, as he is not just convincing but heartbreaking as well, as Lucas’ friend and the father of Klara. 

With The Hunt, Dogme 95-co-founder, Thomas Vinterberg puts a mirror up to society to teach us a thing or two about mass-hysteria and the evil that a somewhat well-intentioned community can do to an innocent man. This is a tragic story, but also one that may need to be told. What Vinterberg and his cast has pulled off here is, frankly, incredible. The Hunt is a flat-out masterpiece. I found The Hunt to be infuriating, sad, and frightening. I believe this is a film that will not just stick with you but also dominate the conversation when you talk about Danish films of the early 21st century. This is a thought-provoking, nuanced, and devastating witch-hunt made unforgettable by Mads Mikkelsen’s heart-wrenching performance.

10 out of 10

– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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