THE HUNT (Jagten)


the-hunt-jagten-oct-24thDanish director Thomas Vinterberg returns to the theme of child abuse, which was explored in his 1998 film Festen. The Hunt is the story of Lucas, a middle-aged, newly divorced father and teacher, who is accused of abuse by a pupil. He faces condemnation by his friends and local small town community, with echoes of the witch-hunt in Dreyer’s Days of Wrath. “Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm’s extraordinarily nimble script teases out emotions before smashing them headlong into one another: one of the film’s saddest scenes contains its best joke” – Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph. (Cert 15)
Dir: Thomas Vinterberg 111 mins Denmark 2012

Programme Notes

The Hunt (Jagten)
Denmark 2012 111 minutes Cert. 15

The phrase ‘There is no smoke without fire’ comes to mind as a topic for this engrossing, alarming and shocking film. Shot like Thomas Vinterberg’s previous revelation film Festen, in a documentary style with lots of hand-held close-ups, there is an awkward feel of realism. The theme of a person wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit has been dealt with before but perhaps never so graphically as in this murky world of insinuation and reality. Mads Mikkelsen, as Lucas the wrongly accused infant teacher, plays the role with such sensitivity of character – especially in the scenes with his son and his girl-friend – that it is not difficult to feel deeply for his situation, while at the same time still understanding fully the reactions of his friends and colleagues. Annika Wedderkopp (Klara) is so totally convincing as the innocent young girl not realising the consequences of her casual remark that the viewer, putting him or herself in the role of the head teacher, must ask themselves ‘what would you do?’. Do you ignore it at your peril or over-react? The ensuing consequences of his relationship with friends and the parents seem so entirely natural and make this a film that is so disturbingly shocking to watch.

The finale of the film is somewhat abrupt and slightly unsatisfactory, with an epilogue that leaves you with the uneasy feeling that there are more questions than answers. Ultimately one has to ask whether one should put oneself in a position where this kind of thing could happen, or is it more common than you would think. In the modern world where cases of child abuse have to be taken seriously, this film is certainly grave food for thought .The title The Hunt refers surely more to the helplessness of the quarry (Lucas) being persecuted than to his ultimate fate but the viewer must draw their own conclusions.

Lucas – Mads Mikkelsen
Theo – Thomas Bo Larsen
Klara – Annika Wedderkopp
Marcus – Lasse Fogelstrøm
Grethe – Susse Wold
Agnes – Ann Louise Hassing
Bruun – Lars Ranthe
Nadja – Alexandra Rapaport
Torsten – Sebastien Bull Sarning
Lars T – Steen Ordell Guldbrand Jensen
Johan – Daniel Engstrup
Bent – Troels Thorsen
Big Carsten – Søren Rønholt
Tiny – Hana Shuan

Director – Thomas Vinterberg
Screenplay – Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg
Original Music – Nikolaj Egelund
Cinematography – Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Producers – Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Morten Kaufmann, Thomas Vinterberg


“An emotionally draining piece of cinematic excellence, packed with stunning performances and realist cinematography. This film should be held up as a fascinating fable of trust and distrust.”

“Truly a terrifying illustration of how an accusation can spread. The ending was quite unexpected and redeemed the scenes just prior to it.”

“Brave and convincing but not sure about the ending”

“The ending seemed rather glib until the final unexplained ‘shot’.”

“Very powerful performances – but what was the truth ??”

“A deeply disturbing film in which one thought that Lucas would always be looking over his shoulder. Stunning scenery.”

“Beautiful photography. Showed the danger of asking leading questions.”

“Showed how cruel human nature can be.”

“Very powerful. Hard to see why the teacher was presumed guilty by everyone, even those who had known him for so long.”

“Shades of The Crucible

“No wonder there is a shortage of male primary school teachers – they deserve danger money!”

“Depressingly believable, with the exception of the reconciliation. This should be a compulsory training film in certain professions.”

“Classic case of child in [illegible] life – hero worship and rejection. Adults pushed ‘what happened’ at child. Lucas’ life ruined forever – he would not/could not return to his community. An excellent film, despite poor ending and all too true in so many circumstances.”

“In the 70s, I had responsibility for initiating and conducting alleged abuse cases. Sometimes we were unsure about them. I found it disturbing that there was no evidence, the police were unable to keep Lucas in custody and there was no attempt to pursue the forensic evidence.”

“All too possible. A pity they had to speak English at certain points – couldn’t really make those bits out.”

“Children don’t lie – they just don’t speak the truth, either. I’m still having a hard time reading the subtitles from the front row.”

“There is no happy ever after.”

“I now almost prefer to shop at Tesco’s!”


A:30, B:8, C:2, D:0, E:1 to give 90%