Mads Mikkelsen, best known for his role as Dr. Lecter in Hannibal Lecter, shows his versatility in The Hunt. Thomas Vinterberg’s drama- The Hunt shows Mads wearing a wire-frame glass with his blond hairs combed forwards. He plays the role of Lucas, a kind-hearted employee who is accused of exposing himself. His performance of a decent man whom society treats indecently earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Plot of The Hunt
The drama begins with Lucas leading a good life in a small town. He is a teacher by profession but is left unemployed after the closing of the local school. Now he works at a daycare. His schedule involves taking care of the children during the day, and his evenings are spent drinking with their parents. He is caring, genuine, and inspires others in many ways. Lucas has a warm personality, but he’s lonely and lives alone in the house he once shared with his ex-wife and son.
Nothing remains the same; things change with time. One of Lucas’ charges complains to the daycare owner that he has sexually abused her. Things take a turn from that point of time. The Hunt doesn’t revolve around the point that whether he did that or not, as it is clear to the audiences from the start that it is a lie. While Lucas goes to work, people there start to investigate him. Things go so far that a child psychologist is brought into the matter as damage control is planned.
Lucas’s boss brings her into the office to tell him what has been happening behind his back. On being asked upon the name of the accuser, she denies revealing any sort of information. He is further told to take a few days off till the matter gets sorted out. All the parents are called to the daycare, and the nature of the accusation is discussed with them. A list of symptoms of sexual abuse, from nightmares to a bad mood, is given to the parents, making them even more convinced that Lucas has molested their children.
A potential plot of overprotective parenting can be seen in The Hunt. Authorities refuse to charge Lucas due to a lack of evidence. This leads to the community believing that a predatory pedophile has been left in their society who can now do even more harm if allowed to roam around freely. It is at this point where The Hunt reaches its main subject- false guilt. The way Lucas gets treated by the community despite his innocence is quite emotional to watch.
Mads Mikkelsen has portrayed the character beautifully. We see the inner turmoil faced by a man who feels guilty about a crime that he didn’t even commit. The Hunt shows us a community coming together against a single man with the motto to make evil go away, while the evil was the act they committed themselves.
The Hunt with Mads Mikkelsen’s great performance asks difficult questions to the viewers. It was released on July 12, 2013, and has a runtime of 1h 50m. The movie is rated 8.3/10 on IMDb and 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It indeed is a masterpiece.