You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Hunt

Exploring the disturbing ripple effects of a false sexual-abuse accusation, this absorbing if not particularly innovative picture will fit snugly into the recent run of solid Danish dramas that have done well at fests and in arthouses worldwide.

With: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom, Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe, Alexandra Rapaport. (Danish, English dialogue)

Absorbing if not particularly innovative, “The Hunt” sees helmer Thomas Vinterberg returning to the Cannes competition with another child-abuse-themed pic, 12 years after “The Celebration.” While that earlier film’s reputation as the director’s best remains unchallenged, his latest, which explores the disturbing ripple effects of a false sexual-abuse accusation, will fit snugly into the recent run of solid Danish dramas that have done well at fests and in arthouses worldwide. As an added marketing bonus, Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”) is effectively cast against type in the lead.

Scripted by Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm (who co-penned the helmer’s previous pic, “Submarino”), “The Hunt” touches on a subject explored in more stomach-churning fashion by the recent French pic “Guilty,” as well as by Danish helmer Jacob Thuesen’s “The Accused” (2005). All these films demonstrate that the most adults, when confronted with accusations of this nature, will instinctually believe and want to protect the children, with little presumption of innocence for the alleged perpetrators.

Recently divorced kindergarten teacher Lucas (Mikkelsen) wouldn’t hurt a fly, except when he goes hunting for deer in the forest (the somewhat heavy-handed excuse for the title’s double entendre). His teenage son, Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrom), would actually prefer to live with his cool dad, though his mom is making this difficult. In fact, Lucas is so lovable that one of his kindergarten students, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), has a crush on him. However, when she’s found out, Klara becomes defensive and, perhaps inspired by porn images she spotted on a sibling’s iPad, she leads the head of the day-care center, Grethe (Susse Wold), to believe Lucas exposed himself.

Grethe needs little convincing that the innocent-looking blonde girl is a victim, and informs first Klara’s parents and then all the other adults who have children at the center. This leads to a predictable community backlash against Lucas, who at first isn’t even aware which of the children has accused him of committing the unspeakable acts.

Vinterberg wisely sticks to the p.o.v. of the falsely accused lead throughout. Except for Marcus and his godfather (Lars Ranthe), everyone begins to doubt Lucas’ innocence — from Klara’s father (Thomas Bo Larsen, “The Celebration”), who happens to be Lucas’ best friend, to a hot foreign colleague-cum-g.f. (Alexandra Rapaport) — and either cuts off contact or is pushed away. The rest of the village turns into a vocal, violent mob only a baseball bat removed from cliche.

Known for his often icy and violent characters, Mikkelsen impresses here as a warm-hearted man who finds himself caught up in a situation way beyond his control; thesp makes Lucas’ immediate isolation and subsequent frustration tangible. Just as good is little Wedderkopp, delivering an impressive perf that suggests Klara, too, is caught up in something she can barely understand. Ensemble cast is aces, with Larsen a standout in the film’s second half. The ending serves up a nice final sting.

Set in the two months leading up to Christmas, “The Hunt” looks and sounds like a comfortably budgeted Danish drama, with the requisite crisp, occasionally twitchy widescreen lensing, solid sound work and a restrained score.

The Hunt


Production: A Nordisk Film Distribution release of a Zentropa Entertainments presentation of a Zentropa Entertainments19, Film i Vast, Zentropa Intl. Sweden production, in association with DR, SVT. (International sales: TrustNordisk, Hvidovre, Denmark.) Produced by Sisse Graum Jorgensen, Morten Kaufmann. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Screenplay, Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Charlotte Bruus Christensen; editors, Anna Osterud, Janus Billeskov Jansen; music, Nikolaj Egelund; production designer, Torbe Stig Nielsen; costume designer, Manon Rasmussen; sound (Dolby Digital), Kristian Selin, Eidnes Andersen; casting, Jette Termann, Tanja Grunwald. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 19, 2012. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: With: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom, Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe, Alexandra Rapaport. (Danish, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Zach Galifianakis Jerry Seinfeld Netflix

    Film News Roundup: Zach Galifianakis' 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie' Coming to Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” is unveiled, “Friedkin Uncut” gets a fall release and Sony Classics buys “The Traitor” at Cannes. MOVIE RELEASES Netflix has set a Sept. 20 release date for Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” based on his 11-year-old talk show. Galifianakis made the announcement during [...]

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content