Movie Review - The Hunt (Jagten)

There is a scene in this film where a 42-year-old man named Lucas who looks like Denmark's response to Christopher Reeve. Lucas kills a deer in the woods with a high-powered rifle. Later, Lucas, who isn't Jewish, attends what could be called his son's bar mitzvah. It's a rite of passage, a step into manhood. Except, instead of getting seudat, Lucas' son Marcus gets his hunting license as well as his own rifle. Everyone, including his father, cheers. A part of me was shocked that this community would make the killing of animals such a celebration, especially since they don't seem to be eating a lot of deer meat, or maybe they do, but if not, a part of me wondered how would Lucas feel if he were a deer, roaming along and then for no reason, someone took a shot at him. The instant I wondered this is the instant it was realized on screen.

Deer hunting is a good metaphor, but this movie is more of a version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible or Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter where in place of a woman, Lucas, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is the object of disgust or shame, except he didn't actually do anything wrong. Basically, the Danish townspeople wrongly persecute Lucas and Lucas is just devastated with their bigotry, hatred and discrimination.

The movie is like an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit without the police procedural aspects. Throughout the movie, I kept asking for those aspects because the crime of child sexual abuse is a matter for the police. Without the police stuff, there is an air of ignorance and a lot of needed questions in the legal process are left unanswered, which make the film too frustrating. This might in fact be the point and if so Mikkelsen performs that frustration and subsequent bitterness with brilliance. I merely required more.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated R for sexual content including a graphic image, violence and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 55 mins.


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