Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Hunt

There's certain films my wife and I like to watch together. Dramatic and heavy-themed foreign films is not one of our typical "watch together genres," although, it's a subset of films I find myself enjoying. So this week I watched The Hunt with my wife only tuning in absently to the final 15 or so minutes of the film.

In the final minutes of the film, I will say (without giving any spoilers away), she watching me watch the film with a sense of stress and anxiety, particularly for the main character, Lucas (played by Mads Mikkelsen).

The Hunt is a well written film Danish film that tells the story of a lonely teacher who is falsely accused of sexually abusing a young student.

Unlike other films that deal with this subject, I think specifically of the recent critically acclaimed film Doubt, the nice thing about this film is that the viewers do not watch with uncertainty of the innocence of the protagonist - instead this innocents is clear and not up for debate. At the same time the actions of the other characters who either spread or dispute this lie are believable and well written.

The other thing I found myself enjoying (if that's the right word) in this film was the way that the story told more or-less in three acts (maybe more considering the final scenes) takes a different path than one might suspect. The presentation and story telling here is fantastic -- the tale is simple and yet not always predictable.

Mads Mikkelsen does a fantastic job in the role, and as an actor who performs in both American and Danish works, I certainly hope he gets similar opportunity to top line in powerful and meaningful roles like this again.

The film was an Academy Award nominee for foreign film this previous year and is currently ranked on as one of the top 250 films (one of the films I previously had not seen on my list), and I'm curious to see if this film is able to establish and maintain a level of longevity as a notable film in time. But for now, it is certainly a notable contemporary foreign film and I attribute to it's lead actor and a script that directs with with sensitivity, power, crafted story-telling, and thoughtful pacing.

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