Film Review: The Hunt (2012)

on Saturday, December 01, 2012
'The Hunt'/'Jagten' (UK Release: 30 Nov '12) // Words: Saam Das

Danish-language film 'The Hunt' ('Jagten') has the tagline: "A random lie can destroy an innocent man". Perhaps it would be crass to draw comparisons to the current saga of false accusations that sadly surrounded Lord McAlpine. Yet the parallels here are surprisingly pertinent, as school teacher Mads Mikkelson finds himself the victim of false child abuse allegations.

'The Hunt' is directed by Thomas Vinterberg, co-founder of the Dogme 95 experimental filmmaking movement, with Lars Von Trier. One of his Dogme 95 offerings 'Festen' also covered allegations of sexual abuse, and 'The Hunt' continues to explore this theme.

Former Bond villain Mads Mikkelson won the Best Actor award at this year's Cannes Festival for his role as Lucas, the film's supposed paedophile. In the midst of recovering from a difficult divorce, Lucas' life crumbles again in the face of the false claims of a young girl.

'The Hunt' successfully captures the potential distrust and hysteria resulting from an accusation of sexual predatory. However, the laughably amateur investigation into Mikkelson's apparent behaviour undermines 'The Hunt', while Mikkelson's own actions often seem at odds with his innocence.

The film's final shot (in more than one sense) asserts the depressing truth that accusations of this nature never truly escape their victim. A powerful reflection effected excellently by Vinterberg. Unfortunately, much of the rest of 'The Hunt' is obviously and overly manipulative, while the lack of ambiguity lessens the drama.


'The Hunt'/'Jagten' is out now in UK cinemas, through Arrow Films. The film premiered in the UK at the 2012 London Film Festival.

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