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The Hunt (2012)

Jagten (original title)
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writers: Tobias Lindholm & Thomas Vinterberg (screenplay)
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Language: Danish

A grade school teacher goes about his life which is improving since his divorce. Then his world is turned upside down by charges against him of sexual abuse. CR

A rather nicely made film about a rather sticky subject...What I appreciated most about this film, is the restrained visual style, which suits the almost documentary feel of the movie. The cinematography is personal, with it's use of medium range shots and a hand held camera. This puts us literally in the shoes of a falsely accused child molester.

Keeping with the realistic feeling of the film, the movie's structure is in present tense and the story takes place chronologically as a rather innocent event turns into something ugly for the school teacher. The absence of multiple time frames and flash backs makes The Hunt all the more potent, as it's happening now....so we feel like Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) does.

Staying within the realistic framework, the film makers wisely decided not to do grandiose camera shots, or uber dramatic music scores...as that would have drawn the viewer's attention away from the subject being explored. Simplistic cinematography can be beautiful as The Hunt proves.

Take a look at the photo I used above. That screen shot from the movie speaks volumes. It relays a feeling of peace and tranquility with the early morning sun shine, back lighting the actors, giving them a warm, halo rim light. That photo sets up an idyllic moment that once was...but is then ripped away as all hell breaks loose.

My hat is off to the actors, who all beautifully manage to play their characters in a subdued and therefore believable way. Which then dove tails perfectly with the realistic style of film making.

The Hunt explores a modern day witch hunt set in the innocents of Kindergarten. It's a powerful story, sadly it's happened many times over the course of human history that an unfounded accusation is taken as gospel, amplified and fed with the frighting power of self righteousness. Ignorance and hysteria go together like peanut butter and jelly, only as the film shows us those negative human traits leave a bitter taste in one's mouth.