Must See Movie: THE HUNT, with Mads Mikkelsen

By Josie Brown

the-hunt-2012-toronto-international-film-festivalThe most horrific crime in the world is child abuse. Then it follows, the most horrendous accusation to be made against an innocent person is that of being a sexual predator.

How would you handle it?

Would you be shocked? Hurt? Angry?

In the Danish film The Hunt, Mads Mikkelsen (NBC’s Hannibal; Casino Royale) portrays  Lucas, a preschool teacher whose life is derailed when the school’s headmistress misinterprets a child’s comment regarding the little girl’s affections for her favorite teacher.

Having already lost a job as a high school teacher to layoffs and his wife to divorce over their money woes, Lucas now must deal with false accusations that has his community, close-knit friends–even the new woman in his life–questioning everything they know about him.

And since the accusation comes from the daughter of his closest childhood friend, Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), the rift caused by the incident is even more heartbreaking.

It’s easy to see why Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. His face is not that of a leading man’s but a villian’s, which attests to his star turn in roles as some of the scariest men on both the small and big screens. But in this beautifully paced, elegantly photographed movie, the same eyes that easily sent shivers up moviegoers’ spines in Casino Royale soften with sadness  or strengthen with a noble resolve when he chooses to hold his head high, despite the ostracism of his community.  Mikkelsen proves to be the perfect Everyman as he holds firm to his faith in his own innocence.

If the incident has one benefit, it is that his teen son Marcus’s (Lasse Folkersen) belief in his innocence only strengthens the bond they share. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s choice to shoot some of the scenes from the points of view of both the son and the little accuser grants the audience different perspectives on the story, allowing us to see just how easily a random lie can forever change the lives of all involved.

Look for The Hunt is in theaters now.


Josie Brown is’s Relationships Channel Editor. She is also the author of The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook series. Her latest book, The Candidate, is a political thriller.