Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a member of a close-knit Danish community and works at the local kindergarten. Divorced, he struggles to maintain a relationship with his teenage son, who lives with his ex-wife, but enjoys wholesome interaction with the children at the kindergarten. His coworker Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport) makes advances towards him and eventually moves in as his girlfriend. One of the kindergarten pupils is Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), the daughter of Lucas’ best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen). Drawing on memory of a pornographic picture her brother showed her, she makes comments that lead the kindergarten director to believe Lucas indecently exposed himself to her. When interviewed with leading questions, Klara gives unclear testimony against Lucas. The adults in the community believe the director’s story of abuse, dismissing Klara’s later contradictions as denial. Lucas is shunned by the community as a pedophile sexual predator. His friendship with Theo is destroyed, the pressure causes him to break up with Nadja, and his son is publicly ostracised. Lucas finds his life being shattered to pieces by an innocent little lie…

“Jagten” is based on the mass hysteria that can be created easily in todays insecure and paranoid society and ruin lives literally. This is by no means an easy subject and should be handled in a very delicate and proper manner, but what Vinterberg is also communicating is that children doesn´t always tell the truth and their imagination might connect things that hasn´t happened. With that said, yet again, this is not an easy subject to talk about, let alone handle. We have seen far too many examples the past years concerning sexual predators and the horrific acts they have done. But, it´s a topic that needs to be discussed from other points of views too. Thomas Vinterberg has always been good at bringing difficult topics to the screen, and he aces this one as well in my book. This is however Mads Mikkelsen movie, and he plays Lucas in such a minimalistic, but truly brilliant way that this role will stick in your mind for a long time. It´s a lot about his facial expressions and movements. Well deservedly he won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for this specific role. The film was also selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, making the final nomination. It was nominated in the same category at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. But, without the fantastic cast from Annika Wedderkopp as Klara to Lars Ranthe as Bruun this wouldn´t have work as brilliantly as it does. Vinterberg has managed to assemble a great cast that brings everything they have to the plate to make this film come alive. Despite the quite slow, but not overly slow, pace there´s a magnificent intensity throughout the movie and I love the fact that Vinterberg keeps you wondering how it will end until the final frame, when you get the idea what will happen. “Jagten” is a hard one to watch at times and the emotional platform goes straight into your heart and brain. And you will keep thinking for sure, what if you would be wrongfully accused for something you hadn´t done? (4 and a half out of 5)

the-hunt-movie-poster-2013-1020755339