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Tanya Khoury: The Hunt
July 12, 2013
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With a limited release in cinemas worldwide this year, I am glad that I had the chance to get to see ‘The Hunt’ during its premiere at one of the film festivals. It’s quite unfortunate that many of the titles that make an appearance in such festivals never really get the chance they deserve in mainstream cinema. Art house cinemas are sadly becoming more and more of a novelty that die down too quickly. One has to make it a mission and chase good movies around the world. Not that I mind at all.

‘The Hunt’ or ‘Jagten’ in its original title is a Danish film starring none other than Mads Mikkelsen, whom I had seen in several films but found a completely new respect for ever since I saw Refn’s ‘Valhalla Rising’. Which contrary to popular ‘reviews’ is quite the excellent title both in visual beauty and performance. This film however is completely different, not in its excellence but in genre. This story is about Lucas (Mikkelsen), a kindergarten teacher who has his own personal problems fighting his ex-wife for the custody of their son. On the outside he is a calm and collected individual with a close-knit group of friends, a great person by all measures who wants just to spend some quality time with his son. The directing is just as equal as the pace of the film; the backdrop is that of a close community, a little town in Denmark.

As we get to know the characters and the town we see how one child’s wild imagination takes a once peaceful life of a man into a downward spiral of chaos. How quick judgments are made without a minute of clarity and collective thought processing. A height of emotions running in every direction that Lucas cannot even comprehend, the idea of the story is one that is so simple but at the same time very complex when thought through. It’s no wonder that Mads Mikkelsen won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for that role. Everyone involved in that production was exceptional, as a viewer I felt some serious bursts of rage that if put in that situation I would not know how to react. A very composed set of actors and a director that really knew where to push all the buttons, every scene is calculated, every emotion is understood and every turn is just too close to reality, that at times you feel that you might have read this story somewhere in the papers and had made a hasty judgment based on how ‘society’ gears you to react to that sort of thing.

The film runs for just under two hours, not that that was felt at all and like I had mentioned earlier the cinematography’s pace increases just as the major events of the film unfold. The camera takes angles that heighten the senses when the actor feels the most vulnerable. It was quite a joy to watch, every part of the film was brilliant. I really do hope that if given the chance you go and see it and even if it doesn’t make the theatre release, please rent it. These kinds of films are hard to come by and the sad reality is that if they are not put in the limelight like they deserve, they just become shelved like an old classic that you always want to see, heard it was excellent, but ‘never had the time’. Denmark has a rich list of actors and directors that continue to make a mark in cinema history, a wonderful film indeed 8.8/10.

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