Vinterberg: Back with a cinematically sophisticated celebration
A story of some right nasty Hunts.
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Since his last Cannes Film Festival feat (The Celebration), Thomas Vinterberg has laid pretty much dormant. He has leaked out a scatter of films, such as A Man Comes Home and Submarino, but none that reach a similar intensive dynamism as The Hunt. With awards coming left right and centre, the proof is in the pudding.
Developed from inspiration of the former, Vinterberg re-visits a gritty storyline centered on child abuse, and executes in a way that lacerates society from all elements of innocence. Set around Christmas, we are introduced to Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a kindergarten teacher who is suffering the finalities of divorce. Within the first fraction of the film, things are looking optimistic; his teen boy is coming to live with him, and he has formed a romance with one of the school helpers.
That is until Klara, Theo’s (his best friend) daughter, presents a dark fantasy as reality, with inevitably condemning repercussions. Her words sweep through the community like a vicious wildfire.
Lucas literally wakes to a world in pieces.
Vinterberg is famous for his involvement in the twentieth century Dogme95 movement, of which called for cinema to be stripped to its basics in a time of Hollywood prolificity. Dogme95 focused on story, character and theme rather than further creations of big-budget spectaculars. Along with the setting and content, Mikkelsen’s delivery of Lucas is inherently Dogme-esque, with his initial composure of the accusation, and his single-line response to the hostility he succumbs; ‘Do you think I did it?’ rings deep.
As the unconditional siege against him escalates, Vinterberg invites the audience to consider who is to blame; a foolish, imaginative child, or a society who is all too quickly influenced by the confused words of an infant?
The Hunt not only undermines societal armor, but like an emaciated vulture, also gorges on the vulnerability that manifests. From the minute yet fundamental details of his life; his iPod in the dock in the kitchen, his unkempt bedroom, the film reflects how a good man is taken and dragged through the filth and destruction fabricated by insecurity and presumptuousness. Scales of humanity are tested, whereby Theo’s character is pivotal.
The final scene, like a gunshot, resonates a final note. And clings to you.
Coming to theatres November 30 (keep an eye out for Ritzy, Brixton), note this down in your things-to-do checklist of 2012.
Words: Jack Pearson