56th BFI London Film Festival: The Hunt Review

Thomas Vinterberg’s (Festen)  latest film The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, A Royal Affair), is set in a small community during the period of three months. In this town we see the full extent one lie has in destroying an innocent man’s life. Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a nursery teacher who is just getting back on his feet after going through a divorce, has his life turned upside down after being accused of child abuse when his best friend’s daughter decides to tell a lie. As the story begins to spread like a virus, and more children get involved, the community see more and more truth in the accusation and persecute Lucas for it.

Mads Mikkelsen won the award for best actor at this year’s Cannes film festival for his performance as Lucas and it is easy to see why. Mikkelsen is phenomenal in the role, making it very clear that he is one of the best actors of his generation. The intensity of his emotional performance was just staggering and really moved me, I can still feel the effect hours after seeing the film. The rest of the cast were also fantastic in their roles. Thomas Bo Larsen’s (Festen, Pusher) depiction of Lucas’s best friend Theo was impressive as we saw his initial belief in his daughter’s accusation waver over time. Susse Wold’s work as Grethe, the teacher who is first told the lie, should be recognised for its effectiveness too. Whilst Lasse Fogelstrom’s role as Lucas’s son was very intriguing, especially in the last few scenes of the film. However it is Annika Wedderkopp who deserves more praise for her portrayal as Klara, the girl who accused Lucas. She acted extremely well in the role and was both moving and believable.

Lucas’s world, emerged by endless forest and snow, is directed magnificently by Thomas Vinterberg whilst the cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen was very beautiful. The imagery used by Vinterberg, such as the hunting of deer, was thought-provoking and, I believed, brilliantly foreshadowed the future of Lucas’s character. The music, conducted by Nikolaj Egelund was striking when used and really helped to reinforce Lucas’s story. The script, co-written by Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm respectively, was fantastic in building the intensity of the situation, as well as showing a distressing but true issue to light. This film left me wondering how many people had this happened to? and why are we so quick to judge and condemn a person before anything is proven? I thought the film was beautifully made and I hope that both Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen are recognised for their fantastic work at next year’s Oscars.

The Hunt was selected for both the Cannes Film Festival and the London Film Festival and will be screened nationwide on November 30th.

Written by Roxy Simons.

Picture courtesy of Empire Magazine.

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