Movie Review #705
In collaboration with Danmarks Radio (DR), Film i Väst, Sveriges Television (SVT) & Zentropa International Sweden…
…with the support of Det Danske Filminstitut, Eurimages, Media Programme of the European Community, Nordisk Film- & TV-Fond & Svenska Filminstitutet (SFI)…
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures (subtitled)
Country: Denmark – Sweden
Spoken Languages: Danish – English – Polish
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Produced by Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann, and Thomas Vinterberg. Writers: Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg.
Rated R by the MPAA – sexual material, violence, profanity. Runs 1 hour, 55 minutes. Premiered at Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2012; at Karlovy Vary Film Festival on July 1, 2012; at Paris Cinéma on July 5, 2012; at New Zealand International Film Festival on July 26, 2012; at Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2012; at Zurich Film Festival on September 21, 2012; at Filmekimi on September 28, 2012; at PAC Film Festival on October 7, 2012; at London Film Festival on October 11, 2012; São Paulo International Film Festival on October 23, 2012; at Leiden International Film Festival on October 24, 2012; at Leeds International Film Festival on November 8, 2012; at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival on November 9, 2012; at European Film Week on November 30, 2012; at Palm Springs international Film Festival on January 10, 2013; at Göteborg International Film Festival on January 26, 2013; at Portland International Film Festival on February 8, 2013; at Belgrade Film Festival on March 3, 2013; at Skopje Film Festival on April 20, 2013; at Newport Beach International Film Festival on April 25, 2013; at Seattle International Film Festival on June 4, 2013; and at Provincetown International Film Festival on June 20, 2013. Limited release in the USA on July 12, 2013. Wide release in Denmark on January 10, 2013; and in Sweden on April 12, 2013.
Starring Mads Mikkelsen. Also starring 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, Hana Shuan, Jytte Kvinesdal, Bjarne Henriksen, Rasmus Lind Rubin, Frank Rubæk, Jacob Højlev, Jørgensen, Karina Fogh Holmjær, Katrine Brygmann, Hunden Rosa, Thomas Frederiksen, and Lene Rømer. Featuring uncredited cameo appearances by Ole Dupont as Godsejer and Advokat, and by Thomas Vinterberg as himself.
Golden Globes night, 2013. I flipped out when “The Great Beauty” beat “The Hunt” for the Best Foreign Language Film prize. Flipped…out. I hadn’t seen either movie at the time, but I’d heard such rave over “The Hunt”, and “The Great Beauty” was a complete unknown to me. It just didn’t feel right at all.
Now I have to say, my reaction that night was a bit over-the-top. “The Hunt” (known to its native Denmark as Jagten) probably isn’t every bit of perfection you’ve heard. But it does have quite a good chance for the Foreign Language Film Oscar.
“The Hunt” centers on a fortysomething, Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), who has had a less-than-perfect past and is trying to rebuild his life. He teaches kindergarten, and he’s not seen as the most trustworthy fellow. Even less so when he is accused of molesting one of his students. The allegation comes directly from that student, and everyone in the community is willing to believe this girl’s troubled imagination over the grown man’s innocence and honesty.
It’s hard to say that we take sides with this story. Mads Mikkelsen has established himself quite well as an overall villain character (“Casino Royale”, TV’s Hannibal). His protagonist in “The Hunt” doesn’t beg for compassion or to be liked, and this way, it more optimally tells the story. The point of the movie isn’t to tell the story from one side. It’s to tell the whole story, and with much certainty, it does.
“The Hunt” takes a story we’d rather not watch and makes it every bit worth watching. The story itself takes a while to unfold, but it’s engrossing as aything once it’s made itself into something. I’ve been under the impression that Scandinavia enjoys lower budget TV movies in their cinemas. While that may be so for films like “Headhunters” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Hunt” is utterly cinematic. The last 20 minutes reach the emotional apex. The last act? Beautiful–and yet anything but beautiful. As for the finale…well, that was plainly unforgettable.
Anatomy of a Psycho
THE HUNT IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD, AND IS FREE TO STREAM ON NETFLIX.