Jagten (aka The Hunt) (8/10)

The Hunt

The lie is spreading.


A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.

Title The Hunt
Director of Photography Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Certification R
Release Date 1 October 2012
Tagline The lie is spreading.
IMDb Id tt2106476

Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) lives alone and somewhat lonely in a small community somewhere in Denmark, has been through a bad divorce and his teenage son lives with his mother, and he has lost his job but has found a new one as teacher in the local kindergarten.

We join the story as life is seemingly improving for Lucas; he enjoys his job and the little kids love him; he starts dating a new woman in his life, and his son wants to move in with him rather than live with his mother.

Lucas’ best friends’ daughter, little Klara, sometimes comes over to Lucas’ house to play with his dog. One day, when Lucas’ passes Klara’s house on the way to kindergarten, she is sitting outside while we hear her parents fighting inside. The friendly Lucas calls Klara’s dad and offers to walk her to kindergarten. Klara is very happy and makes a little heart for Lucas and hides it in his coat. During playtime that day in the soft-play area with the other kids, Klara kisses Lucas on the lips. Lucas explains to her that a little girl should not be kissing adults like that but Klara doesn’t quite understand. And later when he finds the heart in his pocket he gives it back to her as he doesn’t want to give her the wrong idea. But Klara is now a little girl scorned… and as a reaction she makes a silly allegation against Lucas to the headmistress.

Things steadily unfold from there; as viewer we know Lucas is absolutely innocent, and we also know where the allegation comes from. But there is no way for little Klara to really understand what she has done, or to explain it, or even to correct it once things spiral out of control.

The (translated) title isn’t quite right as the story isn’t much of a hunt as it is clear to all who the alleged perpetrator is and he is not hiding or hard to find for anyone; this is no whodunnit thriller – the story is about the persecution of Lucas as almost everyone in the village turns against him, in more and more aggressive and violent ways.

Obviously the story raises lots of question about how to react or deal with such allegations by little kids who may not really understand what they are saying; how do you know what’s the truth? How does a child remember the ‘truth’ when pressured by seemingly caring and protective adults? When the allegator is an innocent little child we all want to believe and protect, can an adult ever hope to be truly vindicated? Where there is smoke there must be fire after all…

The storyline isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t need to be to still definitely be gripping. However the movie’s main attraction is Mads Mikkelsen. Whilst he does have a solid supporting cast, he alone lifts the movie to a higher plane. Worth watching for his performance alone. And then at the end you’re left with a few questions to ponder.


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