sat 15/06/2024

DVD: The Hunt | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Hunt

DVD: The Hunt

Mads Mikkelsen is the innocent accused of a monstrous crime, in a fierce Danish drama

Nowhere to turn: Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a man on the edge

Thomas Vinterberg made his name with Festen’s queasy social discomfort, but has struggled to match his Danish compatriot and Dogme 95 co-founder Lars von Trier’s iconoclastic career. The Hunt’s stomach-knotting intensity as an innocent man is accused of paedophilia restores him to the front rank.

Mads Mikkelsen is Lucas, a small-town nursery worker coming back to life after a bruising divorce, and loved by the kids in his charge. Klara (Anikka Wedderkopp, pictured right), the daughter of his childhood friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), is an imaginative, sad-eyed child. Hurt by Lucas’s chiding of her kissing him on the lips and refusal of a heart-shaped gift, she uses language and glimpsed images from porn-reading boys at home to unwittingly suggest he molested her. The child remains a mystified innocent with a malignant effect magnified by adults who are out of their depth, and mostly unwilling to discount the stain on Lucas’s character. Think of British celebrities who’ve done little or nothing wrong, but been indelibly tarnished by similar accusations. The urge to witch-hunt and cast out pariahs is uncomfortably common.

Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography bathes the rustic scene in a golden glow, as the seasons change in this apparent idyll. Vinterberg peoples his close-knit town with characterful Danish faces. Larsen’s mouth and eyes stick in a strained rictus at the thought of what his best friend may have done to his daughter; Mikkelsen, spectacles masking his potent physicality, is diffident and baffled, a hunted man who finds his home town is a trap. This and A Royal Affair are the most recent evidence of his fearless strengths.

Vinterberg lets Lucas’s plight simmer for most of The Hunt, then piles on climactic set-pieces of sometimes Gothic intensity. His moral thriller puts you through the wringer with immaculately applied force, not letting you look away.

Watch the trailer for The Hunt:

Vinterberg puts you through the wringer with immaculately applied force, not letting you look away


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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