This Danish Drama had a big impact on me when I first saw it. It presents a most compelling moral dilemma and unveils how a small Danish village comes to terms with it. I have been fascinated with Danish culture since one of my best friends in High School was a Danish exchange student called Hans and he would chin wag about the differences between Australian customs and those in Denmark. His hair was so blonde it could be better described as spectrum silver and skin of pinkish hue his nose shone like Rudolf’s. He introduced my friends and I to Pink Floyd music in the most fantastical experiential way, but I’ll leave that night (one of the strangest I’ve had) for when we come ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond‘ in the music library project.
Now back to the movie:
IMDB: A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man who becomes the target of mass hysteria after being accused of sexually abusing a child in his kindergarten class. As I was watching this I was imagining my Danish schoolfriend in the same predicament because the protagonist Mads Mikkelsen reminded me a lot of Hans with respect to his emotional maturity, demeanour and look. This scapegoat problem as it is presented in The Hunt in microcosmic form has existed since humans began. ESPN’s 30 for 30 Catching Hell documentary about when Cubs fan Steve Bartman tipped the ball away from Moises Alou is testament to this.
Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at Cannes for his role in this. It also won the 2013 Nordic Council Film Prize. The film was selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, making the final nomination. In a way, you could say this film was ahead of it’s time since the Cancel Culture warfare which is going on now seems to be an offshoot of what this film is preempting. For this to happen at the village level in one of the most civilized and progressive nations in the world, then what could happen worldwide? Well, we are seeing it in action.
Some people have approached this movie and not understood its point. It is not about if children lie, how to find out if it really happened or how the villagers react but to put you in the head of a falsely accused person and to understand the helplessness such a tragedy comes with. How these accusations can never be taken back and will haunt you forever. I could reveal a lot more including spoilers and what-not, but I’d prefer those to just go into it without preconceived ideas. It’s a movie that will remain with you long after you’ve seen it.