Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mads Mikkelsen Week: The Hunt

Starting with several episodes of Hannibal, I continued my Mads Mikkelsen viewing with a 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominee, The Hunt.  Denmark has produced several Best Foreign Film nominees in recent years including The Hunt, A Royal Affair and After the Wedding.  What do all of these films have in common?  Mads Mikkelsen.  Although he's starred in American films like Casino Royale and Clash of the Titans, Mr. Mikkelsen still hasn't been able to secure himself a juicy, leading man role here in the states.  Unless you count his wonderfully creepy performances on TV's Hannibal.  His frequent director, Nicolas Winding Refn, successfully introduced himself to the U.S. of A. with 2011's moody and violent heist flick, Drive (tied as my personal favorite of that year) and has since re-teamed with leading man dujour Ryan Gosling.  Refn and Mikkelsen worked together on the acclaimed Pusher series and re-teamed for the surreal "action" movie, Valhalla Rising.  Apparently the two are quite fond of each other as they do not speak to each other socially between projects then argue often and passionately while making the film.

The Hunt was directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written with Tobias Lindholm.  Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, an unassuming nice guy who works at the local kindergarten after having lost his job at the high school when it closed.  Divorced with a teenage son, Lucas lives a simple life hunting and drinking with his gang of friends while being a favorite of the students at the kindergarten.  Klara, daughter of Lucas' best friend Theo, latches on to Lucas since her parents always seem to be fighting and forgetting she exists.  When Klara's crush is rebuffed, the little girl makes up a white lie and tells the school master that Lucas exposed himself to her.  The school master immediately believes the little girl and soon Lucas' life is turned upside down as he is fired from his job and ostracized by much of the community, including his former close friends.

A simple story that yields powerful results, The Hunt is an engaging drama that looks at how words and perception can totally change someone's life.  Even though Lucas did nothing wrong, most are quick to call him a pervert and cast him out.  By the time the truth comes out, it's too late as Lucas has lost so much over nothing and will forever be seen differently by some of those around him.  Mikkelsen gives a typically great performance as the goofball kindergarten teacher as well as the man fighting for his dignity and name.  The movie pulled a reaction out of me as I would not have forgiven anyone that thought I was capable of such a heinous crime, especially without any evidence.  In fact, I'd hold that grudgement for the rest of my days...if I didn't go Rambo on the town first.  But that is the sign of a fine storyteller isn't it?  What we see onscreen seems like it could happen to us yet we still know it's a movie.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, just don't push it:

No comments:

Post a Comment