Now that The Academy has published their list of nominated films, it really narrows down the selection pool for me. So far, all of the films I’ve seen have been nominated – no surprise there, their selection methods are not clandestine.
I’ve been holding off on the foreign and anime contenders but I was going to see The Hunt whether or not it made the Oscar nom cut.
I have a love/hate thing with Danish films; they are typically very dark, even somber, sometimes a sense of foreboding overshadows other aspects of film making. However, Danish films are always interesting, well-formed statements on human behaviour that linger. The Hunt is definitely a dark film, the pivotal action inferred from the first scene, child abuse, will make most viewers uncomfortable. However, acting and directing handle the situation with eyes-wide-open directness paired with a sensitivity to soften the hard edges and make the story believable and consumable.
About the acting. I originally watch-listed this film in IMDB because Mads Mikkelsen (villain in Casino Royale) was the headlining. Mikkelsen is excellent, using subtle facial expressions to drive home powerful situational reactions. However, I was equally impressed with the entire cast. Particularly well-selected were the young girl playing the alleged victim and the protagonist’s son – both young first-time actors but nonetheless brilliant in their roles.
Visual juxtaposition of hunting scenes with the community’s reaction to the alleged abuse make the statement about the hunter becoming the hunted; judgement without facts, society’s need for drama without rational cause.
The Hunt is a sledgehammer statement on human behaviour wrapped in exceptional directing and acting; it will resonate long after closing credits.