The Hunt (2012 film)

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The Hunt
The Hunt (2012 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThomas Vinterberg
Produced by
Written by
StarringMads Mikkelsen
Music byNikolaj Egelund
CinematographyCharlotte Bruus Christensen
Edited by
  • Anne Østerud
  • Janus Billeskov Jansen
Distributed byNordisk Film
Release date
  • 20 May 2012 (2012-05-20) (Cannes)
  • 10 January 2013 (2013-01-10) (Denmark)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Budget$3.45 million[2]
Box office$18.3 million[2]

The Hunt (Danish: Jagten) is a 2012 Danish drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen. The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man who becomes the target of mass hysteria after being wrongly accused of sexually abusing a child in his kindergarten class.[3][4]

The film was screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and competed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival where Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award for his role.[5][6][7] It also won the 2013 Nordic Council Film Prize. The film was selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[8][9] making the final nomination.[10] It was nominated in the same category at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards.[11]


After budget cuts cost him his job as a high school teacher, Lucas takes a job as a preschool teacher in the close-knit Danish community where he grew up. He is divorced and struggles to maintain a relationship with his teenage son, Marcus. Marcus lives with Lucas' ex-wife, but he eventually decides to move in with Lucas. Nadja, a Russian emigrant and another teacher at the preschool, makes advances on Lucas and eventually becomes his girlfriend.

One of Lucas' students is a five-year-old girl named Klara, the daughter of his best friend, Theo. She has an innocent crush on Lucas, who treats her kindly, whereas her parents constantly argue; he also lets her walk his dog, Fanny. One day, Klara puts a heart-shaped ornament into his coat pocket, then gives him a kiss on the lips. After Lucas admonishes her, Klara's feelings are hurt. Drawing on a memory of a pornographic photo her older teenage brother and his friend showed her, she makes comments describing an erect penis; this leads Grethe, the preschool director, to believe Lucas exposed himself to Klara. Grethe brings in a psychologist who asks Klara leading questions about what occurred; Klara gives unclear responses about Lucas, alternately denying and confirming the abuse.

Grethe doesn't believe that a child would lie about such a serious matter. She informs the other parents that Klara was likely abused; she also advises them to look for signs of sexual abuse in their own children. The parents ask leading questions of their children, who also say they were abused, thereby destroying any public doubt about Klara's story. Lucas is fired, and the community quickly shuns him, labeling him as a paedophile.

Lucas tries to get some answers out of Grethe, but she is still convinced that the children are telling the truth. Johan, one of Lucas' drinking buddies, leads Lucas away and orders him to go home.

Lucas shows up to Theo's house and suggests that the two of them discuss the issue with Grethe before things get worse. However, Theo insists that his daughter has never once lied, and he says he isn't sure whom to believe. Theo's wife, Agnes, on the other hand, is certain that Lucas is guilty; she becomes enraged and throws him out, refusing to listen to his protests. As Lucas is leaving, Theo grabs him, pins him against the wall, and threatens to kill him if the accusations turn out to be true. After Lucas has left, Klara tries to tell her mother that he didn't do anything, but Agnes merely believes that Klara is in denial.

Lucas' friendship with Theo is subsequently destroyed. His relationship with Nadja is likewise ruined when she expresses uncertainty at his innocence, causing him to angrily throw her out of the house. Marcus, who arrives to move in with Lucas, becomes ostracised by association, and he is told by a grocery employee that neither he nor his father are welcome to shop there anymore. Lucas survives only with the financial support of his close friend Bruun—whose father is extremely wealthy—and of a few friends who still believe him.

Lucas is arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. However, the children's accounts all involve Lucas abusing them in his basement, which supports Lucas' innocence as his house has no basement. After a hearing, Lucas is released without charge, and he celebrates with Marcus and Bruun.

Despite the ruling, the community still believes Lucas is guilty, and the ostracism turns into violence. Lucas' dog is killed, and a large stone is thrown through his kitchen window. Marcus decides to take matters into his own hands and visits Theo, who lets him enter his house as Marcus is friends with Klara's teenage brother. In front of the other half of Lucas' and Theo's group of friends, who have sided with Theo, Marcus accuses Klara of lying and spits at her, and is promptly attacked. He is only spared serious injury by Theo, who intervenes and tells Marcus to leave. Deciding that the situation is too dangerous, Lucas sends Marcus away to live with his mother. Without his son as an in-between, Lucas is forced to go grocery shopping himself, and when a butcher at the grocery store viciously assaults him, Lucas retaliates by breaking his nose.

On Christmas Eve, Lucas reaches his breaking point; he angrily confronts, then beats Theo in front of everyone during a church service, telling him and the rest of the town to leave him alone. That night, Klara, mistaking her father for Lucas, apologizes to him as she drifts off to sleep. She insists that she didn't want things to turn out this way and that Lucas did nothing wrong. Realizing Lucas' innocence, Theo later visits him with food and alcohol as a peace offering.

A year later, tensions in the community have simmered down, and everyone seems to have welcomed Lucas back in. Lucas and Nadja rekindle their relationship, and Marcus is accepted into the local hunting society as an adult. On a hunting expedition to commemorate the event, someone apparently shoots at Lucas with a rifle and barely misses. Blinded by the setting sun, Lucas is unable to identify his attacker. A moment later the unknown shooter, real or metaphorical,[12] flees in to the forest.



The film was produced by Zentropa for 20 million Danish kroner. It received co-production support from Sweden's Film i Väst and Zentropa International Sweden. Further support came from the Danish Film Institute, DR, Eurimages, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Swedish Film Institute, Sveriges Television and the MEDIA Programme.[3]


Alexandra Rapaport and Thomas Vinterberg at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Box office[edit]

The Hunt premiered on 20 May 2012 at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, as the first Danish-language film in the main competition since 1998.[3][13] Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at Cannes.[14] Given its estimated $3.8 million budget, the film was a financial success; in total, it earned more than $16 million including $7.9 million in Denmark. In the United States, it was shown in 47 theaters and earned $613,308.[15][16]

Critical response[edit]

The film received universal acclaim. It has an approval rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9 out of 10. The website's critical consensus states: "Anchored by Mads Mikkelsen's sympathetic performance, The Hunt asks difficult questions with the courage to pursue answers head on."[17] The film also has a score of 77 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[18]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards 2 March 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[19] 19 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Thomas Vinterberg Won
British Academy Film Awards 10 February 2013 Best Film not in the English Language Nominated
British Independent Film Awards 9 December 2012 Best Foreign Independent Film Thomas Vinterberg Won
Bodil Awards[20] 1 February 2014 Best Danish Film Won
Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Won
Best Supporting Actor Thomas Bo Larsen Nominated
Lars Ranthe Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Louise Hassing Nominated
Susse Wold Won
Best Cinematography Charlotte Bruus Christensen Won
Cannes Film Festival 27 May 2012 Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Won
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Thomas Vinterberg Won
Vulcan Award Charlotte Bruus Christensen Won
Palme d'Or Thomas Vinterberg Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 16 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards 16 January 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association 16 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Satellite Awards 23 February 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
European Film Awards 1 December 2012 Best Film Thomas Vinterberg Nominated
Best Director Thomas Vinterberg Nominated
Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Best Screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm Won
Best Editor Janus Billeskov Jansen, Anne Østerud Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[11] 12 January 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards 1 March 2014 Best Foreign Film Nominated
International Online Film Critics' Poll 26 January 2015 Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards 20 January 2013 Actor of the Year Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
National Board of Review Awards 4 December 2013 Top Foreign Films Won
Nordic Council Film Prize 30 October 2013 Nordic Council Film Prize Thomas Vinterberg Won
Online Film Critics Society Awards 16 December 2013 Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Nominated
Robert Award[21] 27 January 2014 Best Danish Film Thomas Vinterberg Won
Best Director Thomas Vinterberg Won
Best Screenplay Thomas Vinterberg,Tobias Lindholm Won
Best Actor Mads Mikkelsen Won
Best Supporting Actor Thomas Bo Larsen Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Susse Wold Won
Anne Louise Hassing Nominated
Best Cinematography Charlotte Bruus Christensen Nominated
Best Editor Anne Østerud, Janus Billeskov Jansen Won
Best Production Design Torben Stig Nielsen Nominated
Best Costume Design Manon Rasmussen Nominated
Best Make-Up Bjørg Serup Nominated
Best Original Score Nikolaj Egelund Nominated
Best Sound Kristian Eidnes Andersen, Thomas Jæger Nominated
Audience Award - Best Drama Thomas Vinterberg Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards 16 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards[22] 11 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association[23] 16 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Runner-up
Vancouver International Film Festival 12 October 2012 Rogers People’s Choice Award Thomas Vinterberg Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards 9 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated

Home media[edit]

Nordisk Film released it in Denmark on 10 January 2013.[3] The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 7 May 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jagten - The Hunt". British Board of Film Classification. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Jagten (2012) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Staff writer (19 April 2012). "Vinterberg til Cannes Festival". (in Danish). Danish Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  4. ^ "The Hunt, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. ^ "The Hunt". TIFF. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  6. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Cannes Film Festival 2012 line-up announced". timeout. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Denmark Selects 'The Hunt' As Foreign Language Oscar Candidate". Deadline. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Oscars: Denmark Nominates 'The Hunt' for Best Foreign Language Category". Hollywood Report. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Oscars: Main nominations 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Golden Globes Nominations: The Full List". Variety. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Mads Mikkaelsen interview". Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Screenings guide" (PDF). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Awards 2012". Cannes. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  15. ^ "The Hunt (2013) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  16. ^ "The Hunt (2013) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  17. ^ "The Hunt (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  18. ^ "The Hunt Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  19. ^ "2013 EDA Award Nominess". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  20. ^ "2014 Bodil Awards Nominations". Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  21. ^ "The Hunt sweeps Danish Robert awards". 27 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  22. ^ "San Diego Film Critics Select Top Films for 2013". Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  23. ^ "TFCA Announces 2013 Awards". Toronto Film Critics Association. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013.

External links[edit]