The Hunt Blu-ray Review
Lucas (Mikkelsen) is a man whose life is on the way up. A former high school teacher whose school has closed, he has found a new position at the local children’s day care center. The staff, and the kids, love him. After a bitter divorce he’s on the verge of finding love again and he’s about to gain custody of his 15 year old son. But, of course, into every life a little rain must fall. Here the rain becomes a flood that threatens to take away everything Lucas has ever worked for.
Set in the beautiful countryside of Denmark (the film is subtitled in English), THE HUNT is a dark look at what can happen, especially in a small community, when one is accused of a heinous crime. The accusation here comes from one of Lucas’ students, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp, an amazingly talented child actress). Klara is the daughter of Lucas’ best friend, Theo (Larsen) and as such has an amazing closeness with Lucas. She likes to take Lucas’ dog, Fanny, for walks and insists on walking to school with Lucas so that he can hold her hand and guide her as she walks with her head constantly down, doing her best not to step on any cracks! On the day of her accusation, Klara’s older brother and his friends have jokingly flashed an image from an “adult” magazine, telling her that the man’s penis is “sticking up like a rod.” Klara has made Lucas a heart in class and has given it to him. She also innocently kisses him on the lips. Not upset,but acting as a teacher, Lucas tells Klara to give the heart to a boy in class. He also scolds her, telling her that she should only kiss her mother and father on the lips. Later in the day the headmaster finds Klara sitting alone and asks her what is wrong. She remarks that she is mad at Lucas. When pressed as to why, Klara remarks that he has a penis. When the teacher replies that all boys do, Klara remembers her brother’s words and tells the headmaster that Lucas’ penis “sticks up like a rod.” Warning bells go off, Klara is spoken to by a counselor and, though she appears to recant her story, the counselor convinces her, and the headmaster, that Lucas is a molester. Lucas soon finds himself out of a job and the pariah of the town. Even as things begin to point to his innocence, Lucas is shunned by everyone he knows, especially Theo and his family. His home is vandalized and he is banned from the local grocery store. With Christmas approaching, things do not appear to be too merry for Lucas.
I’ll admit here that my only knowledge of Mads Mikkelsen was his work as the villainous Le Chiffre in CASINO ROYALE, which I was very impressed with. Apparently he was also in the remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS, but the less I remember about that film the better for my mental health. Here he gives an impressively nuanced performance, making the audience feel his outrage at how he is being felt. You also take glee in his occasional triumphs. Mikkelsen won the 2012 Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival and deservedly so. Just as good is Larsen as the best friend whose daughter makes the accusation. Does he believe his child or his lifelong friend. The inner torment he goes through as his emotions are torn apart is hauntingly displayed on his face. The supporting cast is equally strong, with special attention going to young Annika Wedderkopp. Technically the film is equally strong, with director Vinterberg keeping the story moving and taking great advantage of the beautiful Danish countryside.
THE HUNT BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Presented in a 2:35.1 aspect ratio, the images are sharp and clear. As hunting is a theme in the film, there are some gorgeous shots of the Danish countryside.
Audio: Presented in its original Danish, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is very clean. There are a few minor exchanges in English, and those come through fine. The mixing of forest sounds with background music is well done and not distracting.
Alternate Ending (1:29): To tell you what is different would give away the film but suffice it to say it’s powerful.
Outtakes/Deleted/Extended Scenes (12:25): Four scenes not used in the film, none of them missed.
Making of “The Hunt” (7:01): Short interviews with star Mads Mikkelsen and director Thomas Vinterberg, conducted in English.
Theatrical Trailer (2:09)