The Hunt ★★★★½

I grew up reading about the actual case from a small community in the middle of Norway.
Lindholm and Vinterberg's story is of course altered for dramatic effect, as well as shortened the amount of time it took to resolve.
I was only in my teens, without any sort of knowledge about the particular community/invidivuals or the basis of proof, but I remember it never sitting quite right with me. As the Danish title refers to, it absolutely felt like a witch hunt, with some, in hindsight, awful handling by the professionals on the case.
As it were, the origin story changed a national belief in children as 100% purveyors of truth.

From this, Lindholm writes, unfortunately not completely free from some conveniently placed plot devices,his story as a devastating look at a suspected child abuser. His story is not often the natural protagonistic choice, but Mads Mikkelsen definitely is the right choice to play him.
Mikkelsen has the viewer in a tight grip throughout, and I sat there willing him on towards that final rallying of pent up anger. I had some of that anger myself, let me tell you. The way people turn their back on you in a heartbeat, it takes no great leap of faith to imagine it play out just like this, and it takes a bigger man than me to accept how it all pans out in the end.
And then there's that final scene.....

While Lindholm does create a villainous person or three (the two major female parts come to mind, even if they're reactions are somewhat plausible and to a certain point understandable, there are some personality traits coming to the fore that had my blood boiling), most of the characters are handled with care. Especially the cute, little girl. My favourite scene in the film is between little Klara and Mikkelsen's Lucas at the end. There and then I regreted not watching this by myself, and had to look in a completely different direction as to not expose my "explosive allergic reaction".....

I'd also like to highlight Lars Ranthe, one of the poor man's best friends, and one of a very few people sticking by him. He makes a mountain out of his small part, especially when offering up some hilarious lines of dialogue at the excact right moments. That man has timing!
Vinterberg-mainstayer Thomas Bo Larsen is a trusted man for a reason, and does a fine job as the conflicted best friend.

I'll round off with one of the most important reasons for this working as well as it did, and that is the direction. Vinterberg stands off, and in stead of instructing his actors, it seems to me like he has let them "roam free", the result being a realistic seqeuence of events and actions. They seem less like actors, and more like real people. In a story like this, that is a very effective trait.

The Hunt is a very important film, as it tackles a paranoia stuck in today's society, leading to a state of stigma where intimacy or even fatherly love between children and the men in their life has been sacrificed for the sake of a false sense of "security". A photographic depiction of one of the most natural and beautiful aspects of life is even deemed pornographic if found on social sites as Facebook.

This has to stop, and Vinterberg knows it. Now, how about the rest of us follow suit?

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