The Hunt (2012) 720p

Movie Poster
The Hunt (2012) - Movie Poster
Frame Rate:
25 fps
Danish 2.0  
Run Time:
115 min
IMDB Rating:
8.3 / 10 
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Directors: Thomas Vinterberg [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Lucas is a Kindergarten teacher who takes great care of his students. Unfortunately for him, young Klara has a run-away imagination and concocts a lie about her teacher. Before Lucas is even able to understand the consequences, he has become the outcast of the town. The hunt is on to prove his innocence before it's taken from him for good.


  • The Hunt (2012) - Movie Scene 1
  • The Hunt (2012) - Movie Scene 2
  • The Hunt (2012) - Movie Scene 1

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excellent drama that is tough to watch

The thing about Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt that you should know is that there's no "twist" or big revelation. There's no real ambiguity about whether or not Lucas touched or 'showed' himself to little Klara, the daughter of Lucas' best friend. If there were, this might be a very different movie - perhaps even one that leaned on being dishonest with the audience about the 'did he or didn't he' intentions. It's clear enough early on that Klara isn't telling the whole truth when she mentions to one of the other Kindergarten workers about the "rod" that stands up (meaning the penis), but it doesn't mean she's exactly lying either, just confused in that way that little kids who don't know anything about sex might be if, say, shown a very brief image of a "rod". So there's that. But what The Hunt is really about is perception and how quickly people can turn on someone with a target on them - guilt or no guilt, but especially in the case of not guilty - like with Lucas.

Vinterberg expertly sets up this problem by first showing life as (relatively) normal - Lucas is a father in the process of a divorce, has a great group of guy friends (the kind of Denmark/Sweden/etc who come together, sometimes swim naked in the cold, and drink a lot and sing), and is a teacher at a Kindergarten school. Nothing is shown with any heightened drama, all the cuts to someone in a moment are to show the progression of a moment or a scene - closer to documentary than anything, at least at first - and this helps make the mood past any melodrama for what's to come. Or, if there may be melodrama ahead, it won't be circumspect for the audience: real families in a small town, really close-knit, Church-going, loving, pleasant... and underneath is a whole lot of fear, which can switch to anger, resentment, and horror.

Mikkelson is great in the role, and he may be surprising for those who haven't seen him as a villain in other films (he was a Bond villain once, or if he wasn't he will be someday), as well as the title role of Hannibal Lector on the recent TV series. I haven't seen that show yet, but even if I had it wouldn't change how he works in this film. Could there be any hint in his performance of any evil or misdeeds capable of him? Not far as we can see, though there is that scene where Lucas is first brought in to his superior's office and told of the accusation made. Watch his body language, how his face looks and reacts to this. It could look either way - for the person looking for it, he smacks his lips, he quivers just slightly, he doesn't come out and say 'I didn't do it', but we should know that he didn't. But does the other character know? With something like child molestation?

The topic is so hot-button, whether it's more in the United States or over in Denmark I can't tell, but the safety (and reliability) of a child is such a crucial thing in daily life that it makes for such powerful, potent stuff for The Hunt, as the accusation spirals out - are there other kids(!) just by nightmares and headaches who can tell - and ruins his life, whether he's found guilty or (especially) not. The last act especially is tough to watch as morality is questioned and the mob mentality of a town takes over (not to extreme heights, this isn't Fritz Lang or something, but close enough, realistically enough, just with all those faces).

Quiet scenes punctuate a lot of this film, as much as the brutal ones where rage and bewilderment overflow, like shots of someone having to do something tragic in the rain, and it all builds up to something that is hard to watch. I mean that as a compliment, though it should be said that this is the kind of film I'm not sure I can watch very soon again: it strikes such resonant chords and presents its characters so honestly, the ones looking for grace and those who just cannot, that it's hard not to feel shaken up after it.

Compelling Premise Becomes Preposterous

"The Hunt," the latest from Thomas Vinterberg, takes a compelling premise but pushes its credibility, and its audience's patience, so far that any impact the film might have had is blunted under the weight of its preposterousness.

Mads Mikkelsen plays a kindergarten teacher who is accused by a little girl of exposing himself to her. We know from the start he's not guilty, and that the girl says what she does out of a combination of confusion and anger. But as soon as the idea is planted in the heads of the teachers and parents, they use it to go on a witch hunt with one person as their target.

Watching the film is sort of like watching a car accident in slow motion. We see one bad decision pile itself on top of another, and a situation that could have easily (or at least more efficiently) been resolved instead turn into a spiraling nightmare. The problem is that the events in the film don't make any sense (or at least didn't to this American viewer). The kindergarten teacher who first hears of the allegations decides to call in the mom of the little girl, tell her that her daughter may have been molested, and then says there isn't anything else to discuss at that moment in time!! And the mom accepts that!!! And then the teacher announces at that evening's parent/teacher night that all of their children might also have been molested, and hands out informational pamphlets!!!! And none of the parents ask any questions!!!!!! Maybe there's a cultural disconnect, but I can't imagine parents in any country handling this situation in the way it's portrayed in this film.

And the implausibilities just add up from there. A much more effective and interesting film would have found people following proper procedures and still not being able to shake their inherent knee-jerk prejudices. But an incident like the one in this film, or any incident for that matter, is of course going to get out of control if everyone acts as crazy as they do in this movie. The film manipulates its characters into doing things that it doesn't seem plausible people would actually do, just to make a point. That's called building up a straw man argument, which are famous for being able to knock down.

Perhaps Vinterberg means for his film to be morbidly funny, a black comedy of the absurd. But if so, he doesn't handle the material well enough to make that clear. He invites us to scratch our heads in disbelief at how poorly people can behave, but doesn't make those people's behavior believable enough for us to care.

Grade: B-

The Hunting experience

This is a very rare kind of movie. It takes years between one and another. And I really can't remember when was the last time I was watch something like this. This is a kind of movie you watch in complete silence. You don't talk (if you watch it with someone, of course), you don't comment anything, you just watch. And watch. In silence. "The Hunt" is a highly sensitive matter and it is delivered very subtle. Can't be better. The story is well written, the direction is refined. The acting is superb. Mads Mikkelsen is the king. On of the best actors alive... And when this movie ends, it will leave you in silence. Speechless. A unique movie experience that will - HUNT you! For a long, long time...
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