Review: The Hunt

Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is a divorced man working in a nursery in a small Danish village. Life seems to be ticking along well enough until one of the children makes an entirely false accusation of inappropriate sexual behaviour against him and his whole world falls in.

The Hunt is a circle of hell constructed solely from good intentions and reasonableness.

The mechanics of tragedy are often self defeating. The manipulation needed to manoeuvre characters to the abyss subtracts from the sense of loss. In The Hunt, the way events quickly explode and fly out of hand is wholly and horribly plausible.

What really gets you is that everybody is more or less blameless. The worst you could say about anybody is that they succumb to a certain panicked hysteria.

Usually such tales allow you the space to feel that you'd have behaved better in those circumstances. In The Hunt there may be the depressing realisation that you'd have done exactly the same, or much worse.

Director Thomas Vinterberg has had an underwhelming career since he made his name with the first Dogma movie, Festen, but this is the work of a man at the height of his powers. It's exquisitely well made and performed, realistic but not drab, balanced without being a cop out.

Also, given Philip Schofield's Neville Chamberlain act – 'I have in my hand a piece of paper, there are paedophiles in our time' – a film about the dangers of paedophile witch hunts is fortuitously timed

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Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstr�m, Susse Wold and Anne Louise Hassing

Length: 114 mins