The Hunt Movie Review: This One Dares To Explore The Other Side Of MeToo

Here's our review for The Hunt Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen as Theo, Lucas' best friend, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Annika Wedderkopp as Klara and directed by Thomas Vinterberg

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The Hunt Movie Review: This One Dares To Explore The Other Side Of MeToo

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who is  currently in the news for having replaced   Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, is an actor of immense aptitudes. He has been cast repeatedly in villains’ roles. It takes a  director with some insight into human nature to cast Mikkelsen as a victim rather than a perpetrator.

The Danish phenomenon plays Lucas an affable kind gentle kindergarten teacher whose  well-appointed life comes crashing down when a little girl wrongly accuses him of sexual misconduct. It is important to notice that Lucas’ non-guilt is never questionable. The director plays no hide ‘n’ seek with us. We know Lucas did no wrong. This is what makes The Hunt (original Danish title Jagten) so unique and relevant.

At a time when so many innocent people find themselves behind bars for sexual crimes that they are accused of committing only because the woman is always supposed to be telling the truth, I found The hunt to be stunning devastating and authentic.

Piece by piece, Lucas’ life is dismantled. His relationship with his girlfriend Nadja(Alexandra Rapaport) is messed up, his equation with his  teenaged son is under pressure (Luckily for Lucas his son believes in his father’s innocence) and his association with his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen) is destroyed because the little girl Klara who makes the life-destroying accusation is Theo’s daughter.

Some of the plot twists are highly dramatic and even improbable. This in no way takes away from the persuasive power of this pertinent parable on crime and innocence. Once Lucas is cleared of all charges, the plot becomes a twisted grotesque pantomime of mob lynching.

The way Lucas fights back is not always  convincing. But always compelling. This is a film where the greatness of intent is matched by the execution of the material. Thomas  Vinterberg’s direction is magnificently minimal. While the images shots and frames are shorn  of decoration underneath the surface austerity, the director is constantly exploring the  dynamics of a value system where a law-abiding individual’s right to exist in a civil  society can be questioned anytime.

If the  entire community’s belief in Lucas’ guilt were not so tragic, this would have great comedy. Nothing in The Hunt is amusing. Mad  Mikelsen plays the desperately doomed teacher with a grim force. The performance  rightly won him the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Little Annika Wedderkopp as the accuser Klara is incredibly mature. The way her lips twist slightly when she tells her lies or contemplates  the damage done by her lies, is indicative of  how instinctively she understood the accused’s predicament and yet how woefully incapable she is of stopping the damage. Once the damage is done, it is done for good. And that’s bad.

Image source: twitter/TheHuntMovie