Saturday, October 11, 2014
Another 31 Days Of Halloween: The Hunt (2012)
A Cold And Ambiguous Thriller About 'The Hunt' For The Truth
In most horror or thriller films, there tends to be a more human villain or boogeyman that can literally be a killer. But The Hunt manages to gear its focus towards a different kind of villain that doesn't have face yet figuratively can kill: Rumors. One small rumor can grow to a web of lies and can take a physical or mental toll on the rumor's subject. Yet this film never tells us whether the people behind the rumor are right or not, yet it never aims to give us those answers.
The Hunt follows the story of a schoolteacher named Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) who is adored by everyone in his community. But that is until a girl named Karla (Annika Wedderkopp) tells a small lie that Lucas assaulted him and mistakenly (or not) makes him a pariah to everybody around him. forcing his community to create a modern-day witch hunt.
I'll start off with the performances, or in particular, the lead performance. Mads Mikkelsen is just astounding as Lucas. As his character undergoes such turmoil and is cast out by everybody around him, Mikkelsen showcases his inner turmoil with a rather quiet dignity. He does it without going deep into "I'm mad at the world" or "woe-is-me" territory. Another actor, or actress, I'd love to acknowledge is Annika Wedderkopp as Karla. For such a young child actress, she is very complex as the misunderstood child who is yet isn't the film's biggest villain. One of the film's best scenes has to be the scene where she first explains her lie to one of the schoolteachers, who immediately starts to believe it. That actually brings me to my next point.
Since the film deals with how one small lie can grow into massive hysteria, I loved how director Thomas Vinterberg isn't very judgmental with his vision. This film has no real hero or villain and nothing is black or white. We just watch the characters become consumed by their biased beliefs as they cast out this kind man who may or not be guilty. This film certainly shows how adults can be really biased when it comes to children, especially when it is their own parents. If a child were to say that he or she was hit by their gym teacher, then the adults would rile up against the gym teacher because they believe the child. Like I said, this film has no right or wrong answers, but Vinterberg doesn't aim to find any and I find that incredibly admirable.
I also liked the way the film was shot. The way we are given sequences in the deserted, cloudy forest or the small secluded town and the shots of the character being hidden in the dark brought a great chill to the film and left me shaken by the end of the film. Even the very last 2 minutes had me on edge.
Overall, The Hunt is a very cold and chilling yet masterful execution of a small lie growing from a seed to a poisonous plant. Its lead performance by Mikkelsen is phenomenal, the cinematography is beautiful yet the way it is shot is very tense, and the direction by Thomas Vinterberg is ambiguous yet challenging. The film doesn't give us the right answers. It is up to us to find out or discuss who the real villain is.
Would I Recommend It?:
Absolutely. If you love foreign films, I would put this high on your watch list. But if you can't stand reading subtitles, then you'll be tempted to steer clear since this film is in Danish. Although, there is a wee bit of people speaking English.