Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Year : 2012
Official Website: www.magpictures.com/thehunt
Verdict: Must Watch.
The Hunt/Jagten is a Danish film directed by the highly acclaimed newcomer Vinterberg, and is the devastating story of a kindergarten teacher and how his life, and that of the people around him, turns topsy-turvy, when he is accused of a grave crime, all a childish lie.
Lucas(Mads Mikkelsen) is a former secondary school teacher, divorced and battling for the custody of his son. He presently works at a kindergarten to make ends meet and lives alone except for his dog Fanny. In this quaint Danish town, he seems to be doing fine and is loved by the children at work.
Life begins to pick up for him as he soon begins dating a female co-worker. He looks forward to the possibility of a family and win his son back with a stable existence. However, things turn on its head, as he is accused of exposing his genitals by a little girl Klara(Annika Wedderkopp)
Klara, is Lucas‘s best friend, Theo‘s(Thomas Bo Larsen) daughter. She is a sensitive girl, seemingly older, and clearly shown to have a vivid imagination. Her accusation, an innocent lie, turns the best friends into enemies, and the entire town is quick to ostracize and brand him. And Lucas bears the brunt in all his day-to-day activities with stares and sneers in streets, stores, and the church. Even his dog is butchered and displayed in the garden.
After a face-off between Theo and Lucas at the church, Klara apologizes to Lucas while drifting off to sleep. Theo hears this and realizes that his friend Lucas had been innocent all the while.
A year goes by, and Lucas comes back to the town. The tension seemingly forgotten. Lucas and Klara meet again and interact as usual.
But will the society forget? In the hunting party organised to admit his son, Lucas soon realizes that his life and relationships with the townsfolk will never be the same, when someone fires a shot at him. Somethings, even if untrue, are never forgotten.
Vinterberg directs a masterpiece after The Celebration(1998) tackling a complex issue with deft tenderness. He probes into the typical nature of the society to turn a lie to truth, and how gossip, and malice turn into a near witch hunt.
Mads Mikkelsen is just brilliant and deservedly won the Best Actor award at the Cannes 2012. Usually portrayed as a villain, he easily works through the various emotions and facets of Lucas, translating his anguish and pain to the audience.
Annika, plays Klara to the hilt, and is a figure of mature childishness, as required for this role.
The Not So Good: Nothing.
The Verdict: Must Watch.