Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt revolves around Lucas, a divorced man biding his time in a small Danish community. He has a pretty good job, a loving son, and friends who are truly a supportive force. And as a kindergarten teacher, he is rather passionate about his job. In our story, Lucas is played by the highly underrated Mads Mikkelson (who by the way, looks nothing like a kindergarten teacher).
During a particularly uneventful day, Lucas is accused by a young girl of an inappropriate act. His immediate reaction is of disgust and bewilderment. But his predicament only gets worse. Shunned by the community, he loses his best friends, his job, and a little of his sanity. But the most interesting part of this movie is that you are aware of Lucas’ innocence right away. That’s right. You learn early on that he is innocent (I won’t say the circumstances, because I want you to watch this excellent movie). As the viewer with this knowledge, you’re left to spend the rest of the movie shouting at the television as to why the adults in this movie don’t seem to understand the importance of asking the right questions when dealing with children as it relates to child abuse of any kind. But that’s the point of the story. Things can escalate quickly without a moment’s notice, especially when there is no precedent for such a thing.
So what does this have to do with our current society? Everything and nothing. We now live in a society where we have multiple platforms to condemn people of crimes (and we all do it). Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the comments section of our favorite blog(s), we all feel the need to express our opinion about the topic of the day. How do we know that any of what we read is true? Because the stuff we read that someone else wrote seems highly plausible. And for just about everyone, that’s good enough.
George Zimmerman, Donald Sterling, Casey Anthony, racists, homophobes and Fox News have featured prominently on my Facebook page. But what do we really know about these folks besides what I read? Critical thinking is vital to discerning truth. But that takes too much work for most people.
But back to our movie, and as to not reveal spoilers, let’s just say that Lucas’ life continues to get…awkward. Things escalate rather quickly and our protagonist is left in a rather jaw-dropping state. Unfortunately, the crux of the movie lies in the question of: “If you were initially part of a bloodthirsty lynch mob against a friend, but then found out said friend was innocent of a horrific crime, what would you do?” The Hunt answers that question, but it’s not pretty.
Sources/Credit and Links: Featured image via Magnolia Pictures