Thursday, November 14, 2013

Film Review: The Hunt (Jagten)

Copyright: Nordisk Film
The Hunt, which is the English translation of the Danish name Jagten, takes place in a small community where everyone knows everyone else. Every person on the street is a neighbor, acquaintance or a friend. In other words, the story takes place in a form of human settlements which for thousands of years was and still is an ideal place for various forms of persecution ranging from public condemnation to open witch hunts.

Mads Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a professor who loses his job. Because of that he gets another one as a teacher in a kindergarten. Despite the difficult period in his professional and private life, Lukas loves his job, and the other kids adore him. One day little Clara, the daughter of his best friend, presents a vague story that might show abuse. The manager of the kindergarten feels obligated to do something. Lucas gets suspended, and instantly his life becomes hell.

Director Thomas Vinterberg uses dry realism presents this serious drama. In it there is almost no music. Vinterberg puts Lukas in a state of almost total isolation and helplessness. The case has no basis in the legal sense, but his community begins its own trial and renders its verdict immediately. For them the real court process is not important. The only important thing is the fact that Lucas is accused of something unspeakable.

The film is a perfect project for Mikkelsen. He has a distinct screen presence and few people on the world cinema stage comparable to him (Christoph Waltz comes to mind as one possibility). In his new TV show Hannibal he was able to dazzle us in the shoes of a killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. As Lukas, he manages to create a warm, regular family man in a difficult period. The real problems for Lukas begin when this period becomes a nightmare.

This movie reminded me of the older film called Just Ask My Children, based on a real event in the United States. However, Winterberger opted for a much less dramatic approach. Its story is less about injustice and more about the dark places in ordinary men and women. This darkness bubbles to the surface when they believe they are just trying to protect the weakest  in our society - children.

The Hunt shows that the greatest danger lies in the moment when good people come across an ugly phenomenon like child molestation. It that time, there is a danger that those who see themselves as protectors also become monsters.  


  1. Jagten is a powerful film. It´s deeply disturbing.


    1. Yes it is disturbing. That is the crucial part of its impact.