Film Review: The Hunt (2012)

In the middle of an ongoing custody battle, Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) works hard to pick up the pieces in his life. Thankfully things are looking up; his son wants to spend more time with him, a new romantic interest makes her way into his life, and he works as a kindergarten teacher beloved by the kids. By all means, Lucas is loved and respected by his students, coworkers, and friends. 

Being a reliable teacher and friend, Lucas will often walk his best friend’s daughter, Klara (Annika Wedderkop), to and from kindergarten if the girl’s parents are unable to. By happenstance, a few events lead to Klara telling a fib about Lucas, and from there the situation spirals out of control. Very quickly, Lucas is under fire from untrue sexual assault claims. 

Mads Mikkelsen delivers perhaps his most intense performance to date. His role as Lucas is heartbreaking and sympathetic, and you’ll be rooting for him the whole time even when the situation is at its most unfavorable. Although Mikkelsen has proven himself one of the most versatile actors of recent years (Another Round, NBC’s Hannibal) the commitment and passion he pours into his role as Lucas is nothing short of extraordinary. 

What stands out about The Hunt is the way it deals with a fairly taboo topic. The setup to the assault claim is frighteningly believable, for starters, but given the protagonist is innocent (and he IS innocent) the film strays far from ever becoming a whodunit or suggesting disbelief of allegations. Ultimately, The Hunt’s message is not to disbelieve situations of alleged abuse, but to give us a deep and profound look at the pain caused by rumors in general. Once a lie is in motion, it can never be taken back, and those are scars that will never fully heal, no matter what. 

This theme is flawlessly reflected with the way The Hunt ends. I’m not sure I’ve seen an ending that is both wide open to interpretation but also so blatant in what it’s trying to say. It drills home that which the entire film is built around; the destructive and depressing reality of defamation pushed to its limits. 

Overall rating: 9/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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