Løgnen spreder sig. The lie is spreading.
I remember hearing about Thomas Vinterberg‘s Jagten (The Hunt) and Mads Mikkelsen and his glorious win as the best actor at last year Cannes Film Festival. I think it was around the time where news about Mikkelsen will be cast as a villain in the upcoming Thor: The Dark World movie. When i finally get my paws on the film last week, and give it a watch, i have to ponder what made the film and Mads Mikkelsen so great. Well, the conclusion i came to was: Mikkelsen is what made this movie what it is.
Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a primary school teacher lives a lonely life in a small danish suburb. He seems content with his close-knit hunting friends and his place at the community, despite having divorced and in constant struggle over the custody for his son Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrøm). His life was about to get better, as he finds love in his close colleague and receives good news from his son. But apparently shit does happen. Little Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), the daughter of his best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), ‘innocently’ tell something to the primary school principle, Grethe (Susse Wold). And butterfly effects run its violent course, and Lucas suddenly found himself victimized by the whole situation.
It’s funny how little, deceptively innocent lie, can spiral out of control and create disturbing hysterics that took over a small town. But shit happens, and usually to a good person too. The premise of Jagten might not be something new but this might be the one time a film actually made me hate kids. Okay maybe saying that is not exactly fair. But Klara’s lie, and her brother showing her porn, and their parents not putting enough parental lock protection in their iPads (really, this is a huge concern), made Lucas a victim of a whole city. I personally his is not something exaggerated, i think this kind of shit could happen to just about anyone in similar situation. Lucas really is an all around good person, his closeness to Klara actually coming from Klara feeling estranged from her parents as they seemed to forgot about her and having continuous argument. So the incident become some kind of blessing in disguise for Klara’s family. I personally believe that Klara’s lie is not innocent, imho, a lie is a lie. And Klara’s saying these lies because she was jealous and felt threatened that she gonna lost Lucas’ attention to her. Jealousy is an ugly, ugly bitch. Okay i feel slightly insane for having so much frustration and anger against the little girl…
To some extent, this film really appeal to me emotionally, i can feel my skin curl throughout the film from the unseen terror that is happening to Lucas. As the accusation towards Lucas made him fall from his respectable place in the community and descend to some sort of social pariah. We saw the shift in people behavior, the wary glances, the accusatory tones, even his best friends became more hostile towards him. While waiting for the police to iron out the details in their investigation we see Lucas, in his quiet social exile, become an outcast and the object of the hunt of his surrounding. When Lucas’ son Marcus visited him before Christmas and he became objected under the same scrutiny of his father he tried to stood up against it to no avail.
In the end, despite the lack of evidence and his proven innocence, we can see how a little lie snowballed and poisonous gossip spread among community, as Lucas own life lost its balance. It’s a take on an issue often found in our own distorted modern society, of prejudice, of unfair accusations, to the extent that can destroy an innocent life. It begs the question to the audience, how would you react if you were in Lucas’ shoes? in Grethe shoes? in Theo shoes? I wish the film would invest a little more on juxtaposing Lucas’ life and the hunting terminology itself. I think i personally think it deserve a little aesthetic style to elevate its intended substance. Just enough to take it away from the predictability of the film.
I think Mikkelsen quiet and calm portrayal of Lucas’ is so eerie. The man really display impressive amount of patience and restrain as to not react in hostile behaviours against the discriminating judgement. I can sense his emotion boiling under the surface of that seemingly collected, unfazed facade. It was a phenomenal performance, but just not enough to elevate the overall film into a masterpiece. However, i do like the ending. The end of the film really was poetic, and really show the dark allegorical of the title, something that i craved from the beginning. As Lucas seemed to finally gain a semblance of normalcy again in his life, he was reminded of how unforgiving human being are, and found himself still not vindicated for the sin he did not commit. A simple thing that remind us how we are a social being after all, and how acceptance from others just as important as acceptance from ourselves.
DIRECTOR Thomas Vinterberg | PRODUCER Morten Kaufmann, Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Thomas Vinterberg | WRITER Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg | MUSIC Nikolaj Egelund | CINEMATOGRAPHER Charlotte Bruus Christensen | EDITOR Anne Østerud | STUDIO Zentropa | DISTRIBUTOR Nordisk Film | COUNTRY Denmark | BUDGET 20 Million kr ($3.45 million) | RUNNING TIME 115 minutes | RATING R for sexual content including graphic image, violence, and language | RELEASE May 20, 2012 (Cannes), January 10, 2013 (Denmark)
STARRING Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Annika Wedderkopp