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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Movie Review - The Hunt

The Hunt (Jagten) (2013)
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, and Lasse Fogelstrøm
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I'm not quite sure how I'd react were I placed in the same situation as Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a kindergarten teacher unjustly accused of sexually molesting a young girl in his classroom.  I'd think I wouldn't be nearly as calm as Lucas who, although certainly seething inside, outwardly appears almost nonchalant.  Perhaps that's the reason why I never quite connected with the rather horrific totally plausible premise in The Hunt, a Dutch film nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year's Academy Awards.  Although he's certainly put through the ringer, Lucas keeps his cool through the false accusations which not only affect him, but those around him like his teenage son (Lasse Fogelstrøm giving a tortured performance -- one that I'd like to have seen from Mikkelsen's character).

While Mikkelsen gives a fine performance (although, like I said, I never quite connected with Lucas's resolute nature), the star of The Hunt is young Annika Wedderkopp who plays Klara, the kindergarten-aged girl who makes the false accusation towards Lucas.  What starts as a completely innocent white lie quickly steamrolls out of control for the young girl.  Wedderkopp perfectly plays the subtle nuances of a kid who knows what she's doing is wrong, but can't figure out how to make it right.  When all these adults are pressuring you into thinking a certain way, what's a kid to do?  You almost feel as if we can see young Klara's inner mind trying to think things through and make things right.  There's a palpable sense of guilt emanating from Wedderkopp's performance and it's rather captivating and heartbreaking at the same time.  (There's also a rather cute "Bewitched-style" nose twitch Wedderkopp brings to the table that may be character-driven or may just be a quirk of her own, but it's a subtle nuance that reminds us that we're watching an innocent girl here who's trying her best to fix her mistake.)

The Hunt had the potential to be fantastic, but for some reason the main character's emotional arc never really registered with me for whatever reason.  Your mileage may vary when it comes to him (Mikkelsen won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for this so it connected with some folks), but it shouldn't keep you away from watching the film which is certainly worth seeing for young Annika Wedderkopp's acting debut.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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