The Hunt Screen 18 articles

The Hunt

2012

The Hunt Poster
  • There’s a fine line between depicting injustice and perpetrating it—Don Siegel, for one, knew how to walk this tightrope; Vinterberg should just quit before he does more damage. I’d rather watch a rerun of Law and Order SVU.

  • While The Hunt is very well made, it’s also exactly what you’d expect, given its subject matter. There’s no suggestion that Mikkelson might be guilty, nor any other complication—he’s a pure, noble victim, and the film merely observes sorrowfully as his life falls apart, with special emphasis on the destruction of his closest friendship.

  • If The Hunt finds Vinterberg working in a more controlled register, the result is a wash. With its wintry palette and mix of handheld camerawork and carefully composed widescreen images, the film is visually polished (bordering on bland) and numbingly routine. Unlike in The Celebration, the cruelty and suffering in The Hunt feel both overly schematic and intellectually muddled.

  • That “The Hunt” miraculously manages to use these two elements [Lucas' dog and his hunting rifle] and still remain (mostly) sober to the end is worth a commendation. It could still stand to be even tighter. Too many minor characters, including the surly staff of what appears to be the town’s only supermarket, might as well twirl mustaches, and the way the town quickly turns on Lucas — curiously, without a mention of social media — can make the film more like a reductive problem picture.

  • The fact that anyone is taking The Hunt seriously as a look at community panic around pedophilia, or the mass psychology of scapegoating, or even as a solid slice of middlebrow realism, is truly confounding. The problem, as has been the case throughout Vinterberg’s entire career, is that he has no directorial control, and this results in wild tonal inconsistency.

  • Effective at ramping up the frustration level, at least, but the ideas this occurs in service of are ultimately so airless that it’s hard to congratulate Vinterberg much for his steady hand. For me at least all that aggravation ended up vented back onto the film itself, which has no immediate target for the spleen dumped upon its hapless protagonist - besides society with a capital S - which gets imagined as a callous, unthinking herd shedding those who show signs of weakness.

  • Barely an organic moment in the whole acclaimed two hours but whatever, the public wants what the public gets... Does keep you watching, and does make you angry - but hysterical women are the main villains, making Mads a doting dad (and indeed linking his own suffering with that of his teenage son) seems a bit much, and the litany of troubles does pile up. Couldn't they at least not show the dog?

  • The Hunt is a solidly made, consistently coherent and steadily intensifying drama that extols the great Scandanavian theatrical tradition of the idea of a single conscience against the world. In one sense, The Hunt is Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, re-set for our era of fears (real and imagined) of pedophilia.

  • If Thomas Vinterberg's film feels manipulative in turning the screws on its mild-mannered protagonist (a la Bess in Breaking the Waves or, really, most Von Trier heroines), it's following the inexorable mechanics of a social script that we all know well. Still, as a Shirley Jackson-type take on small-town mob mentality, the film is plenty potent, and, at any rate, it would be worth seeing for Mikkelsen alone.

  • The script stacks the deck by leaking what should be a quiet initial investigation and churning up hysteria through rumor, but it nonetheless traffics in primal emotions and it’s indeed pretty raw.

  • The Hunt obviously isn't grappling with new subject matter, as there are plenty of films that explore the unresolved tensions that fester within the male psyche as a reaction to a variety of socially imposed pressures to embody the prototypical alpha male... But Vinterberg trumps our expectations with his breathless, ruthlessly precise live-wire staging. The Hunt is a terrifyingly convincing study of how easily a man's contract with society can be revoked.

  • Director-cowriter Thomas Vinterberg has touched upon the subject of child abuse before, in 1998’s The Celebration, and truth be told, there’s nothing here—not Lucas’s ruined longtime friendship with Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), not his professional dismissal and public beating in a supermarket, not even a Christmas meltdown in a church—that you can’t see coming. Still, the movie works beautifully by bringing forward the delicate subject of guilt via passivity.

  • The Hunt is often absurdly calculated, but it is also impressively atmospheric, distinguished by a fairytale-like mood of intangible discord. The seasonal setting (it takes place across November and December) allows for an effective visual transition from crisp late autumnal warmth to thematically apposite snowy chill, while Kristian Eidnes Anderson’s eerie sound design—which makes a feature of silence being interrupted in unusual ways—further ramps up the unease.

  • Thomas Vinterberg’s new drama, "The Hunt," allows Mikkelsen to go beyond appearances and showcase his versatility. Wearing wire-frame glasses, his blond hair combed forward, Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a kindly daycare employee who is falsely accused of exposing himself to a child. His performance — which won Best Actor at this year's Cannes Film Festival — is a nuanced portrait of a fundamentally decent man grappling with a world that has decided to treat him indecently.

  • While the movie is intermittently marred by the too-on-the-nose way Vinterberg sets up his effects (and by a coda that's totally unnecessary after a perfectly realized scene that leaves two of its central characters in a state of suspension that's the most emotionally true thing in the movie), the actors make themselves felt beautifully throughout.

  • Vinterberg tells Lucas’s story with intensity and grim irony, and even throws in his trademark references to Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander. The result is a film that, in spite of its ambivalent coda, is far more uplifting than you would ever expect.

  • While it may have taken playing a Bond villain and now a famous cannibal on American TV for Mads Mikkelsen to gain widespread recognition, those following his Danish film career have long known that he’s a superstar. And Mikkelsen, one of his country’s finest actors, in collaboration with Thomas Vinterberg, one of its finest directors, delivers what may be his strongest performance yet in The Hunt, which rightfully won him the Best Actor Award at Cannes last year.

  • Where [The Celebration] film had an undercurrent of caustic black comedy, this is almost oppressive in its seriousness. Still, Vinterberg orchestrates the material impressively, increasing tension little by little until it becomes overwhelming.

More Links