Jagten (The Hunt)
Autumn 2013 Features series
Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 7:00pm
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Screenplay by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, and Annika Wedderkopp
Rated NR ·
Danish, English, and Polish
Jagten (The Hunt)
One of the year’s defining and most controversial films, The Hunt is an intelligent and disturbing dissection of Danish society, as ferocious as director Thomas Vinterberg’s international breakthrough The Celebration. Mads Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair, After the Wedding) stars as Lucas, a divorced daycare worker who is hoping to win custody of his estranged teenage son. Well-liked and easygoing, Lucas is an integral part of this tight-knit community, having lived in the small suburban town all his life and formed lifelong friendships with Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen, The Celebration) and Bruun (Lars Ranthe), who regularly organizes the men’s hunting trips.
Beloved by the children under his care, Lucas also has a special bond with Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), the young daughter of Theo and his wife Agnes (Anne Louise Hassing; The Idiots). Frequently finding Klara wandering the neighbourhood alone—her only respite from the constant rows between her parents—Lucas takes to escorting her home. When Klara kisses him on the lips one day, a shocked Lucas rebuffs her, telling her that only mommies and daddies should kiss in that way. Hurt and angry, the child tells the incompetent head of the daycare that she has seen things she should not have, sparking a modern-day witch hunt that targets Lucas and grows progressively uglier. Rumours, innuendo and lies spread through the town like a virus, transforming the once mild-mannered Lucas into a tormented and embittered pariah virtually overnight.
As in The Celebration, Vinterberg mercilessly reveals the hypocrisy behind some of his country’s most cherished social ideals, particularly the close bonds of community, the sanctity of domesticity, and the innocence of childhood. Directed with consummate skill and driven by exceptional performances from a stellar cast, especially Mikkelsen, The Hunt is one of the most troubling and powerful cinematic experiences of the year.
“It is rare that a film can make you laugh, cry and shake with fury all at the same time; even rarer when it does so for the right reasons. Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm’s extraordinarily nimble script teases out emotions before smashing them headlong into one another: one of the film’s saddest scenes contains its best joke, and the culminative effect is dizzying. Mikkelsen, who is not given to sympathetic roles, has never been better. This is cinema that sinks its claws into your back.” (Robbie Collin, The Telegraph)
“Propelled by Mads Mikkelsen’s shattering performance as the blameless man whose life threatens to be destroyed, the film is superbly acted by a cast that never strikes a false note or softens the impact with consolatory sentiment. The same strengths distinguish Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm’s screenplay, which spins a psychological horror story rooted at every step in credible reality. The film is fundamentally about the speed at which lies, gossip and innuendo can become cemented as fact in public opinion, and about the disturbing power of suggestion on young minds. But it’s also about the fragile nature of trust in communities and among friends, particularly men. It shows how easily masculine bonds stretching back years can be broken and how willingly a band of brothers can betray one of its own.” (David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter)
“Beautifully performed and tough as nails, Vinterberg’s social drama could not be any more timely.” (David Hughes, Empire Magazine)