DVD: Hunt, The / Jagden (2012)

December 20, 2013 | By

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Film: Excellent/ DVD Transfer: Very Good/ DVD Extras:  n/a

Label: Mongrel Media / Region: 1 (NTSC) / Released: October, 2013

Genre: Drama

Synopsis:  The life of a divorced teacher is ruined within days after he’s accused of molesting the daughter of his best friend.

Special Features:  (none)




Mads Mikkelsen delivers a powerful yet understated performance in this remarkable low-key drama in which an odd remark by a child ignites a supervisor’s seething suspicions, inevitably launching a series of cautious actions that turn an entire community against a local grammar school teacher.

The script by director Thomas Vinterberg (A Celebration, Submarino) and Tobias Lindholm (Borgen, A Hijacking) immediately present teacher Lucas as a good and very ordinary man who’s respectful of the kids and makes appropriate corrections to ensure there’s never any impropriety. By making it clear Lucas is wholly innocent, the torment that follows becomes almost excruciating to watch, especially since it’s just a remark made by a child known to be very imaginative.

The key to Lucas’ survival is tied to his son and a loyal friend, and their ongoing belief in his whole innocence, but regardless of what occurs after the police become involved, it’s the community’s shunning of the man and his efforts to maintain his rights and retain dignity which are difficult to watch. Mikkelsen portrays Lucas as a fallible man – beneath his quiet tone lies the ability to rage – but he never pitches the character’s emotional displays high, thusly avoiding screeching melodrama.

Vinterberg also films scenes in a realist / docu-drama style, often cutting to quiet reaction shots which themselves magnify character suspicions without making grand dramatic or judgmental statements. When there is rage – verbal, or through physical actions – it’s still relatively retrained until a confrontation in a grocery store that pits Lucas’ stubbornness against the coordinated revulsion of the employees.

In a U.S. film, a lawyer would’ve been added to the character set, and the drama would’ve fixated on the quest for justice and restatement of a man’s reputation, but Vinterberg and Lindholm recognize the grey zone that lingers after there’s a resolution, and how Lucas will always be surrounded by doubters. There are several powerful scenes towards the film’s conclusion – the buildup to a church exchange is emotionally harrowing – and like the direction, it’s captured in a docu style, with much of Nikolaj Egelund’s score held back until the End Credits.

Charlotte Bruus Chritensen’s cinematography is gorgeous – her colours and compositions are really beautiful – and Mikkelsen’s supported by a great cast who convey the look of very ordinary people whose sense of community is ruptured by a terrible accusation.

The DVD transfer is very clean with solid colours and details, but there are some step-like stuttering in a few linear pan shots from the PAL to NTSC conversion. The Canadian Mongrel, U.S. Magnolia, and British Arrow releases are bare bones editions, but Mongrel opted not to issue a Blu-ray edition for Canada.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan


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