Mads Mikkelsen is Lucas, a mild mannered single dad who works at a daycare and lives a quiet life in the idyllic Scandinavian countryside. He’s trying to win back custody of his teenage son, but otherwise his life seems untroubled. He’s loved by all the children in his care, but especially the young Klara, his best friend’s daughter, who grows more and more attached to Lucas, eventually developing an unhealthy crush. When Lucas tries to draw a gentle boundary line for appropriate behaviour, Klara makes an angry accusation to the head of the daycare. Soon, the entire community is on a disturbing witch hunt, and Lucas is forced to defend his innocence and try to not lose a connection to his own child in the process.
Thomas Vinterberg’s most powerful film since his 1998 masterpiece The Celebration , The Hunt once again tackles profoundly uncomfortable subjects and digs deep under the veneer of Danish society and family relations. Mikkelsen gives a heartbreaking and subtle performance as the beleaguered Lucas who is damned no matter what – if he protests too strongly, he is eyed with even deeper suspicion and earns the contempt of the entire tight-knit village. If he does not protest, his silence is seen as an admission of guilt.
Lucas choses to continue going on about his business without shrinking away in shame or fear. Struggling to maintain dignity in the face of deeply hurtful accusations as all his former friends and colleagues shun him in increasingly aggressive ways, Lucas is a stoic, tragic figure who will draw deep empathy as well as frustration and perhaps anger from the audience.
Is The Hunt Essential TIFF Viewing?
Yes. The Hunt is a brilliant film, and won Mikkelsen the best actor award in Cannes, so even if it doesn’t get wide theatrical distribution, it will not be too difficult to find post-TIFF. However, watching it is the kind of moving, epic experience that deserves to be shared with an appreciative crowd of the sort you’ll find at TIFF. You might cry, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of doing so with 500 fellow festival die-hards.
Screening Times for The Hunt
- Monday September 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
- Wednesday September 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
More About The Hunt
The Hunt Production Gallery
MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE