Time for another addition to the Foreign Favourites series, as the very awesome Caragale has sent in her contribution. I’ve long been a big fan of her blog and am always commenting on her articles and nominating her for awards. Not only does she write fantastic film and TV reviews, but she’s one of the most supportive and engaging bloggers around, and you should definitely head over there as soon as you read her review.
Foreign Favourites: The Hunt (Jagten)
Gosh darn you, Alex Raphael, for snatching this idea up before me!!!
Kidding. Well, mostly. 😉
I think this is a great idea for a series—so great that, as you may have gathered, I considered doing it for my own blog. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I have seen very few foreign films. I often neglect the many wonderful films outside of my own English-speaking bubble, and this was just the push I needed to check out a film I’ve wanted to watch for some time: The Hunt (or “Jagten” in Danish). So here we go! Thanks so much, Alex, for letting me participate!
The Hunt (2012)
Synopsis: “A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.” –www.imdb.com
What I liked:
- Mads Mikkelsen. His performance as the protagonist, Lucas, is wonderful. And it’s nice to see Mikkelsen as a good guy! Outside of this film, I have seen him in two roles: Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2008) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s awesome Hannibal series. He’s great in both, but not exactly the kind of person you root for. In The Hunt, you feel for his character—a genuinely good man—and just want things to turn out okay.
- The community. Lucas’s town is immediately introduced as a small, friendly, fun-loving place where everyone knows everyone. It’s a town that’s pretty easy to imagine—which is why it’s so easy to imagine one little lie getting blown out of proportion. In places like this, word spreads like wildfire.
- Lasse Fogelstrøm. He plays Lucas’s son, Marcus, and he delivers.
- Lucas’s dog, Fanny. She has a pretty funny reaction to any mention of Lucas’s ex-wife, and she’s also at the center of one of the most dramatic moments of the film. Basically, a cute doggy is never a bad addition to a plot.
- There’s a sudden, terrifying moment in Lucas’s house that you will probably not see coming, and it’s a tense, well-done scene.
- The last minute or so of the film. I don’t want to give anything away, but for awhile I didn’t know if I was going to like the ending—it didn’t seem very realistic. But that last moment of the film puts things into perspective in a big way.
What I didn’t like:
- Lucas’s semi-girlfriend, Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport). The budding relationship seems rushed—mostly due to how very forward Nadja is. I could get over that if Nadja were pivotal to the story, but ultimately she doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Not much of a purpose other than “let’s have our main character bang a hot lady,” that is.
- As I said, this is a small town, so it’s easy to see how things get blown out of proportion—especially when the topic involves the well-being of children. However, there’s almost no buildup before the entire town turns on Lucas. Literally, one day he has all his friends, the next he has no one. I find it fairly unbelievable that all of his friends would go against him so quickly—and without even asking any questions. Speaking of questions…
- The teacher who first hears about the alleged incident between Lucas and a young girl pretty much heads her own investigation. Isn’t this the kind of thing that would immediately be turned over to the police?
- Though overall I’d say the film is very well-done, there are a few scenes that seem slightly over-the-top—particularly a scene in the grocery store and, to a lesser degree, a scene in the church. They weren’t bad scenes, but there were times when I had to pause and think, “Is that really how this character would react?”
To Sum It Up: The Hunt is a film that tackles pedophilia—an extremely sensitive, grim subject—in a gripping and heartbreaking way. Lucas is innocent, and we pity him, yet we also feel for the townspeople who are so fiercely protective of their children and so devastated by the idea that anything like this could happen. It’s well-written, well-performed, and, in my opinion, well worth a view. But prepare yourself. It reveals an ugly side of humanity that might leave you a little unsettled.
My Grade: A-
My thanks to Caragale again for her fab review. I have yet to have the pleasure of seeing this film but after such a positive review, I’m definitely going to have to. And I can definitely recommend Hannibal too. It’s a superb, though very dark, show.