The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Hunt | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - The Hunt

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Alexandra Rapaport, Lasse Fogelstrøm

A daycare worker (Mikkelsen) is wrongly accused of the sexual abuse of a young girl.

Having lost his teaching job, Mikkelsen finds himself working in a daycare center at which he is the sole male member of staff. After escorting home his neighbor's daughter (Wedderkopp), the child develops a crush on him. When he sensibly spurns her affections, she badmouths him to the owner of the centre, claiming he exposed his genitals to her. Despite protesting his innocence, Mikkelsen is relieved of his position and becomes shunned by the local community, including his closest friends. The more he fights his corner the more ostracized he finds himself with his detractors' actions becoming increasingly aggressive.
Thanks to a tabloid media desperate to create headlines, the way adults, and particularly males, interact with children has changed forever. Twenty years ago, were a child to smile at a grown man he would most likely smile back and not give it a second thought. Now we're terrified that a harmless friendly gesture could be misinterpreted as something sinister. Parents have become over-protective, terrified by the myth of hordes of child-catchers roaming the land waiting to snatch any kid who plays outside their house. The reality is that children have never been safer, especially if you're fortunate enough to live in the west. Yes, abuse does occur but it's almost always perpetrated by a family member, not some stranger lurking outside the school gate. There was a time when an adult's word meant more than a child's but that's been turned on it's head now. This is the situation Mikkelsen finds himself in. Even when the child admits she lied it's too late, the adults have made their mind up and do their best to convince her the lie did actually happen.
Like the great social dramas of the fifties, this is a film which boils your blood at man's ignorance to his fellow man. You really feel the anger and desperation thanks to Mikkelsen's fantastic performance and Vinterberg's direction. It's not a showy movie by any means but it's full of great moments. An early visit to the father of the "victim" is brilliantly played by Mikkelsen and Larsen. The father's emotion is torn between whether to believe his friend or his daughter but when his wife arrives home he suddenly flies into a rage for her benefit, threatening to kill Mikkelsen if he ever comes near his family again. A violent altercation in a supermarket recalls 'On the Waterfront' as Mikkelsen defiantly demands to collect his groceries despite receiving a beating. There's a great moment of tension when the child turns up on Mikkelsen's door asking to play with his dog, oblivious to the trouble she has caused.
'The Hunt' is a masterful piece of film-making, powerful without being preachy, and an angry indictment of the shuttered world we've built ourselves.
9/10
The Hunt (2012) on IMDb 8.2/10

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