By Don Simpson | July 24, 2013
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writers: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe, Alexandra Rapaport, Sebastian Bull Sarning, Steen Ordell Guldbrand Jensen, Daniel Engstrup, Troels Thorsen, Søren Rønholt
Kids say the darnedest things and sometimes those things have powerful repercussions. Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), for example, makes a very serious allegation against Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) without ever truly understanding what she is saying. Lucas broke her little heart and she simply tries to get revenge. She tattles on Lucas just as she would tattle on a peer. An image that she saw recently is still emblazoned upon her mind, and for whatever reason she creates an association between that image and her resentment towards Lucas. Next thing Lucas knows, his life is forever altered; because when most adults hear Klara’s claim, they automatically assume that it is true. Despite their long friendships with Lucas, they immediately jump to conclusions. The hysteria spreads like wildfire. Any resemblance of logic is irrationally discarded, as seemingly innocent gossip festers into something much more malicious, quickly transforming a sweet little lie into something that the majority believes is the truth.
Prior to this situation, Lucas has already had his teaching career derailed when his school closed; plus, he is contending with a difficult custody battle for his son, following a nasty divorce. We are left feeling a heart-crushing amount of pity for Lucas; yet in most films covering such content as The Hunt, we would probably feel quite the opposite. By telling The Hunt from Lucas’ perspective, writer-director Thomas Vinterberg removes most doubt from our minds regarding his innocence. This unique storytelling approach heightens our emotions as we observe Lucas’ life spiraling downward into oblivion during this horrendous witch-hunt. It is never easy to watch as an innocent person is transformed into a pariah.
The Hunt brutally captures the hypersensitivity of modern day parents who view almost every grown person as a potential pedophile or kidnapper. It’s a sad, sad, sad world we live in that parents are willing to jump to such drastic conclusions; teachers, too, are always on the lookout for signs of abuse or neglect among their students. Modern society seems to revolve around fear and suspicion. We jump to conclusions and are no longer cognizant of the affects that such charges might have on the accused, just as we seem to have forgotten the old adage of innocent until proven guilty.