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The Hunt: A Gripping Drama of Ambiguous Innocence

Updated on March 13, 2014
Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas in the Danish drama, The Hunt (Jagten)
Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas in the Danish drama, The Hunt (Jagten) | Source

A Gripping Drama

The natural sequence of events that stem from a hasty lie of an ignorant young girl compels viewers of The Hunt to wonder how they would act if they were in the protagonist’s shoes. The film addresses the unspoken rule that the words of an “innocent” little girl will always trump those of a man, regardless of how sincere and kind he may be. It also proves to us that words are the most potent weapons in society due to their capacity for everlasting damage, especially in the unpredictability of human relationships.

The Scandinavian culture that houses the film’s setting provides the perfect framework for its subtle grittiness, and the random, beautiful scenic shots create a wonderful appeal. Lucas, the protagonist, is a kindergarten teacher who loves kids. His care for them, however, is what gets him in the worst predicament of his life. When an ignorant girl says irretrievable words out of spite for Lucas, his life twists into a living hell. The film grabs our sympathies early and we cannot help but feel every punch, word and random object thrown at Lucas. We cannot help empathizing with him since we know the truth.

Indeed, this film is a film about truth--and trust. Who do we believe when life gets difficult? Who is telling the truth? A little girl or a grown man? How can we trust a grown man when a little girl accuses him?

The film reminds us that the safest, most impenetrable defense against the bitter hostilities of society is the possession of loyal friends. When Lucas is alone, his life is in ruins; it isn’t until he finds allies and friends, who trust in his innocence, that he can live at peace. One character comments, “The world is full of evil but if we hold on to each other, it goes away.” The strength in a group of loyal friends is the surest defense against hostilities that seek to dismantle a man’s innocence.

The particular crucible that Lucas finds himself in is one most of us cannot relate to, but it’s relatability isn’t the point of the film. What it does is invite us into his crucible and makes us feel the pressure of false accusations. To a certain extent, we can relate to the intense pressure of being wrongly accused, and that is how we can relate to Lucas and his predicament. It’s the common drive to be redeemed that keeps us on our feet as we wait for Lucas’ own redemption.

The Hunt is not a misnomer. The film carefully crafts the unpredictability found in the art of hunting into a subtle grittiness that calls viewers to contemplate their own presuppositions about innocence. The title of the film finds it’s place throughout the film, especially at the end, where we clearly see how unpredictable and dangerous humans can be.


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