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Saturday, 13 April 2013

DVD - The Hunt - directed by Thomas Vinterberg

 Star rating 8/10

This is a bleak but utterly compelling story of how a man's life is decimated by a false accusation of sexual abuse by a young girl at the nursery school where he teaches in rural Denmark. And the beautiful autumn and winter scenery are used to full and stunning effect.

Mads Mikkelsen is spellbinding as Lucas whose solitary life unravels bit by bit as he is unjustly accused, then hounded by his friends and close knit community. To make the situation worse the girl who is his accuser is the daughter of his best friend. His newly developing relationship with another teacher at the school is also an inevitable casualty of the developing hysteria. And his already strained relationship with his ex partner and son is severely put to the test.

The hounding and harassment to which Lucas is subjected is very reminiscent of that described so chillingly by Arthur Miller in his stunning play about the Salem witch trials The Crucible. The society Lucas inhabits is a red blooded macho world of deer hunting and drinking, but inevitably it is Lucas himself who is the most hunted animal of all. The Hunt is certainly a tough watch, and I'm not sure it merits the loose ends being tied up quite so neatly as they are to some extent here. But nevertheless it's a brave subject, confidently handled by director Thomas Vinterberg, and another superb performance from Mikkelsen, following on from the excellent A Royal Affair last year.

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