The Hunt (Jagten)
Reviewed by Mitchell Burns
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg Starring: Mads Mikkelsen Danish Film
Thomas Bo Larsen
I’ve probably only seen a handful of foreign movies, I can’t blame myself fully for that, I enjoy subtitles. Foreign movies are harder to obtain, with the decreased number of movie rental stores, unless Netflix gets it, you’ll probably miss most foreign movies. It’s too bad because most foreign movies have a style and uniqueness unlike anything we see in movies in North America.
The Hunt, or Jagten in Denmark, is a Danish movie that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Hunt didn’t premiere in North American until 2013, so it is considered a 2013 movie for us. Which is news I was relieved to hear, if it had gone unnoticed by myself and the Oscars last year, I would have been quite upset.
The Hunt stars Mads Mikkelsen as Lucas, a divorced kindergarten teacher. You may recognize Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lector from NBC’s Hannibal. Lucas (Mikkelsen) recently lost his job as a secondary school teacher so he took this kindergarten job to make ends meet. He has a strained relationship with his ex-wife, and rarely gets to see his son Marcus (Lasse fogelstrøm), whom he loves very much. Though he didn’t choose to work at the Kindergarten, Lucas seems to enjoy it. The kids love him and his playful attitude, they wait for him to show up in the morning and ambush him lightheartedly.
The Hunt builds up this almost fantastical town around Lucas, He’s happy with a job he didn’t pick, he’s happy to get spend to the little time he can with his son and he’s happy living alone, just him and his dog, Fanny. So when his entire life is turned on its head, it makes it all that much harder to watch.
It’s when Lucas is accused of the sexual abuse of one of the children at the kindergarten school that things take a turn for the worst. His entire world comes crashing down around him; no one in the town will talk to him, including his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen).
The Hunt unapologetically throws Lucas into these situations, no matter how uncomfortable or tense it is for the viewer to watch. We’re given answers to questions we never knew we wanted answered. Tom Long, of The Detroit News said “It’s hard to watch. It should be seen.”
The Hunt is great, but it’s taken to the next level with powerful performances from the entire cast, especially Mads Mikkelsen; Mikkelsen deservedly won the Best Actor Award at The Cannes Film Festival. The other actors who stand out are Thomas Bo Larsen, who plays Lucas’ best friend Theo, Annika Wedderkop, who plays Theo’s adorable daughter Klara and Lasse Fogelstrøm who plays Marcus, Lucas’ son.
If I had one complaint, it would be that The Hunt may be a tad too long. The Hunt could have about 10 to 20 minutes shaved off and it would feel a little tighter, it didn’t take away from the movie for me, but it may for others. The Hunt will definitely have a place on my favorite movies of 2013, and I would bet money on it being up for a foreign language Oscar. This is a film that emotionally grips you, you’ll not want to watch how events turn out at times, but you won’t be able to turn away.
My Grade: A+
Thanks for Reading,
Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona