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Mitchell's Top 20 Films of 2013: #9 "The Hunt"

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9. "The Hunt" - “Guilt has very quick ears to an accusation,” English novelist Henry Fielding said.

Fielding carries a very good point.

Although one should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the court of public opinion certainly shapes an accused’s reality until a formal trial makes its final judgement.

Therefore, to be falsely accused of a serious crime might be one of the most maddening experiences a human being could ever endure.

In “The Hunt”, someone does not falsely accuse Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a 42-year-old kindergarten teacher, of a serious crime.

No, this person falsely accuses him of an absolutely heinous one.

Lucas, a respected man in the community, suddenly becomes the centerpiece of a devastating controversy, and in the process, almost everyone in this small Danish town ostracizes and demonizes him.

His life becomes a living hell, and Mikkelsen gives an exceptional performance as Lucas.

Lucas tries to remain composed and poised while staring into the mouth of madness, but when your closest friend does not believe your own word, he is an isolated soul on a crowded island.

Director Thomas Vinterberg gets into very uncomfortable territory here, but handles the delicate subject matter with tremendous amount of care and evenhandedness.

Based upon the evidence, the townspeople really have reason to be a collective judge and jury, and that is what makes “The Hunt” such an intriguing and difficult drama over the course of its 1 hour and 55 minute hands-wringing runtime.

Follow me on Twitter: @MitchFilmCritic

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