The Hunt

Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport and Annika Wedderkopp
Written By Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Denmark 2012
115 mins

We are currently living through a period in which there has been an unprecedented series of accusations of sexual misconduct and a subsequent groundswell of powerful reaction which some are now saying is perhaps in danger of becoming a witch hunt.

The Hunt (Jagten in Danish) is a compelling, claustrophobic small-town tale which tells the story of Lucas - a kindergarten teacher in Denmark  whose life is plunged into nightmare when he is accused of sexual abuse at the school where he works. Before he knows it public opinion has turned and he finds himself the object of hatred and fury.

Mads Mikkelsen is outstanding as Lucas - a man who becomes human prey in the community in which he lives. His struggle to prove his innocence and find a way out of the trap that is closing around him is intense, at times hard to watch but ultimately highly rewarding.

Writer/director Thomas Vinterberg's movie is in no way sensational but instead a focused and unforgiving drama - shining a powerful light onto human behaviour and examining crowd dynamics and peer pressure. It asks some very harsh questions and raises unpalatable truths. The Hunt was a distinct return to form for Vinterberg whose career had dropped off since his infamous feature debut Festen - a savage portrait of a family in which inter-generational incest and perversion are revealed on the occasion of a birthday party. After that Vinterberg was part of Lars von Trier's 'Dogme 95' group - a short-lived movement dedicated to ridding cinema of artifice and technical tricks.

The Hunt never exploits its difficult subject matter - it is instead a viscerally convincing and involving tale which will give you pause for thought and stay with you long after the film finishes.