The Hunt: Danish Quality

I realise that this is a little bit left-field for me, portraying myself as predominantly as a sports writer, but I feel that this is something that I should share.

I realise that many people, when they hear the words ‘foreign language film’, the immediate reaction is one of apathy, to say the very least. From what I can garner from the reaction whenever the subject is mentioned (which, admittedly, is not all that often), is that ‘it takes too much effort to read the subtitles and watch the film at the same time’. Personally I enjoy the occasional offering from the continent, predominantly the ludicrous offerings of the 4 ‘Taxi’ films from French Director Luc Besson (Leon, Taken, Taken 2), but one film caught my attention, whilst food shopping, I spotted a film starring Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal), a Danish offering called ‘Jagten’, or ‘The Hunt’.

First, a question: How often have you seen it happen? Whether you are in university, or out in the world, how often have you seen how one little comment here, or a little lie there, can suddenly snowball?

I have been trying for over an hour now to try and summarise and review the film but I cannot do so without any spoilers. The best way I feel that I can explain to you what the film is about, is to use the description on the DVD case itself. I apologise.

THE HUNT unfolds in a small provincial town in the days leading up to Christmas. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a forty year old divorcee, is finally getting his life under control. He’s got himself a new girlfriend, a new job and is in the process of re-building his relationship with his teenage son, Marcus. But things soon start to unravel. Nothing significant, just a slight comment here, a random lie there. And as the snow falls and the Christmas lights are lit, the lie spreads like and invisible virus. The shock and mistrust gets out of hand, and the small community suddenly finds itself in a collective state of hysteria, while Lucas fights a lonely fight for his life and dignity.”

The Hunt is a dramatic and thoroughly absorbing depiction of how one innocent lie can plant the seed of doubt in someone’s mind, and how that doubt can grow into malice, which is spread by the gossip of a small town. I bought this film purely for the fact that it has Mads Mikkelsen in it, and I am so glad I did. It is rare that a film can engage me in the way that The Hunt has, and it has, after only 1 viewing, gone very close to the top of the list of my best films.

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