Blog Directory CineVerse: Caught in the crosshairs

Caught in the crosshairs

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"The Hunt," Thomas Vinterburg's stomach-churning examination of the devastating aftermath of a false accusation, plays like a real world adult horror story and a "this-can-easily-happen-to-you" cautionary tale. This is a film that gives us plenty to chew on long after the credits roll, including the question of how to interpret the final scene. Collectively, our CineVerse group took aim at the task of analyzing "The Hunt" and came away with these observations:

The ending is unresolved and ambiguous: we don’t know who fired the gun, and there is no conclusive wrapping up of loose ends.
Even though we know from the start that Lucas is innocent, the compounded feeling that almost no one believes him leaves the viewer with a disquieting doubt of sorts about the matter.
The filmmakers use handheld camera, natural lighting and very little music to tell their story.
The young student who accuses the teacher is not depicted as some kind of incomprehensible villain; we are shown her possible motivations and better understand the complex nature of why she acts the way she does.
This movie dares to inject a counterpoint to the popular assumption that all children are honest, innocent and unimpeachable witnesses to violence and victimization.
The filmmakers also apparently researched transcripts of police interrogations of suspected pedophiles in Denmark, America and other European nations, which adds credibility and authenticity to the movie.
The setting is a forest community, which gives the story a Grimm’s fairytale-like feel or even the vibe of a cautionary and tragic folktale told around the campfire.
The criminal/police investigation isn’t the prime focus here—it’s the court of public opinion that counts in this picture, not necessarily a criminal court case.

The hunter becomes the hunted; Lucas is a hunter early in the film—literally and figuratively; he is hunting for a better life and relatively happy domesticity.
Consider that the story starts and concludes with a hunt of some sort: in the opening, it’s a hunt by local residents of a small community in a Danish forest. In the end, it’s a hunt for the teacher’s life.
Blogger Roy Stafford wrote: “This is a rural community in which we see only four communal meeting places – the nursery school, the supermarket, the church and the country club/hunting lodge – which though it is a private house seems also to be the centre for social activity. It’s interesting that Lucas is effectively ‘barred’ or at least unwelcome in the first three but that the last is a kind of haven.”
Director Thomas Vinterberg has stated that this movie is meant to comment on what he regarded as a crisis in the Scandinavian masculinity. As film reviewer Geoffrey Macnab wrote: “One warped level, the accusations can be seen as benefiting Lucas, since they give him an excuse to fight back. in his defiance, he reclaims his identity and becomes even more macho, confronting his tormentors in the church and demanding that they look in his eyes (the inference is that they will find no guilt there).”
There’s a thin line between civilization and the jungle – between order and chaos and between trust and doubt. Human beings, by nature, can easily become suspicious, be susceptible to rumors and hearsay, and succumb to mob mentality.
Once you are accused and considered guilty in the court of public opinion, it’s very likely that you will always remain guilty and unforgiven. There is no undoing of a witch hunt injustice. Perhaps that’s how to interpret the film’s last shot in which Lucas may or may not have literally been shot at by someone—he is going to always have to wear that mark of shame and doubt and one or many people will not forgive him.
The film asks the question of every viewer: what would you do in this situation if you were the teacher? What would you do if you were the child’s family member or a concerned villager?

“Fury” starring Spencer Tracy
“The Celebration” (known as “Festen”, which also deals with the topic of child sexual abuse, this time by a parent), also directed by Vinterberg
“The Crucible”
“Day of Wrath”
“Straw Dogs”
American Westerns like “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Oxbow Incident”, in which vigilante justice is meted out upon often innocent men
The pitchfork- and torch-wielding mobs in the “Frankenstein” films
Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” starring Henry Fonda
“Atonement”, also about a man accused of a child molestation he didn’t commit.
“To Kill a Mockingbird”
“Fanny and Alexander” (shots of Klara mimic compositions in Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece, and the dog is named after Fanny)
The legends, folktales, and stories about witch hunts, especially the Salem witch trials.

“Far From the Madding Crowd”
“The Celebration” (known as “Festen”, which also deals with the topic of child sexual abuse, this time by a parent

  © Blogger template Cumulus by 2008

Back to TOP