The Hunt (2012 film)

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The Hunt
The Hunt (2012 film).jpg
Danish theatrical release poster
Danish Jagten
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Written by
Produced by
Starring Mads Mikkelsen
Cinematography Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Edited by
  • Anne Østerud
  • Janus Billeskov Jansen
Music byNikolaj Egelund
Distributed by Nordisk Film
Release dates
  • 20 May 2012 (2012-05-20)(Cannes)
  • 10 January 2013 (2013-01-10)(Denmark [1] )
Running time
115 minutes [2]
Budget$3.45 million [3]
Box office$18.3 million [3]

The Hunt (Danish : Jagten) is a 2012 Danish psychological drama film [4] [5] directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen. It 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. [1] [6]


The film gained critical acclaim for Mikkelsen's performance and Vinterberg's direction. Many have described it as one of the best psychological drama films of the last few years. [7] It was competed at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, where Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award for his role, [8] [9] and was also screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, among other film festivals. [10] It won the 2013 Nordic Council Film Prize and was one of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Golden Globe Awards. [11] It was the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 86th Academy Awards [12] [13] and was selected as one of the final five nominees. [14]


Lucas is a member of a close-knit rural Danish community. He misses his teenage son, Marcus, who mostly lives with his ex-wife, but he gets along well with the young children at the local kindergarten where he has worked since the school at which he taught closed. When Marcus says he wants to live with Lucas and Lucas starts to date Nadja, a co-worker, his fortunes seem to be looking up.

Klara, who is the daughter of Lucas' best friend, Theo, as well as a pupil at Lucas' kindergarten, has a tendency to wander off on her own when her parents argue, and Lucas occasionally happens upon her when she is alone and helps her out. He accommodates her aversion to stepping on cracks and says she can walk his dog whenever she wants, and, over time, Klara develops a crush on Lucas. When she kisses him on the mouth and gives him a small gift, he gently rebuffs her and she becomes dejected. Using details from a pornographic picture shown to her by a friend of her older brother, Klara makes comments that lead Grethe, the director of the kindergarten, to believe Lucas exposed himself to her. Grethe invites an acquaintance to interview Klara and, after Klara nods in response to the man's leading questions, Grethe, who does not believe that children lie about such things, alerts the authorities and informs the parents of the children who attend the kindergarten. Klara later contradicts her initial story, but the adults see this as stemming from denial of what happened to her.

Lucas loses his job, his friendship with Theo is destroyed, and he is shunned by the community as a pedophile and outcast. Due to the vague language used and the secrecy around the investigation, he does not know what specifically he is supposed to have done, but he eventually hears he may have been accused of abusing multiple children. The strain of this revelation leads him to break up with Nadja when he thinks she doubts his innocence.

Marcus runs away from his mother to be with Lucas. After a trip to the grocery store, where he is told that neither he nor his father are welcome anymore, he sees Lucas being arrested by the police. Locked out of the house, Marcus goes to ask Theo for a spare key and ends up fighting with several adults for confronting Klara and asking why she lied about his father. He is taken in by Bruun, one of Lucas' friends, and his family, who believe Lucas is innocent. Bruun tells Marcus that Lucas has a hearing in the morning and he is hopeful the case against Lucas will be dropped, since he has heard that all of the children's accounts of their abuse mention the same details of the basement of Lucas' house, which does not have a basement.

Lucas is released from custody, but someone kills his dog and throws a stone through his window, so he sends Marcus back to his ex-wife. On Christmas Eve, he gets beaten up and thrown out of the grocery store when he refuses to leave without his food; however, he headbutts the butcher to get his groceries back. At church, he notices Theo and his wife, who saw him limp out of the store bleeding from his head, whispering during the service, so he challenges Theo to look in his eyes for a sign he is lying about his innocence, since Theo had previously stated he can always tell when Lucas is lying. When Theo goes to put Klara to bed that night, she reaffirms that Lucas did not do anything bad to her. He brings Lucas food and alcohol and the two men sit together to talk.

By the next fall, tensions in the community have lessened, and Lucas's friends greeting him again as before. He and Nadja have gotten back together. Marcus receives his first rifle at a ceremony at Bruun's house. Lucas and Klara reunite, and he carries her in his arms to take her to Theo.

After assembling, the adult men go hunting on the surrounding estate. When Lucas is by himself, a bullet whizzes past his head. He turns and watches as the shooter, silhouetted against the sun, reloads his rifle and points it for a moment before he flees.



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. [1]


Alexandra Rapaport and Thomas Vinterberg at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Alexandra Rapaport Thomas Vinterberg Cannes 2012.JPG
Alexandra Rapaport and Thomas Vinterberg at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival

The Hunt premiered on 20 May 2012 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was the first Danish-language film in the main competition since 1998. [1] [15] Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at the festival. [16]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on 10 December 2013. [17]


Box office

Given its estimated $3.8 million budget, the film was a financial success. Worldwide, 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. [18] [19]

Critical response

The film received universal acclaim. It has an approval rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 134 reviews, with an average rating of 7.82/10; the website's critical consensus reads: "Anchored by Mads Mikkelsen's sympathetic performance, The Hunt asks difficult questions with the courage to pursue answers head on." [20] On Metacritic, it has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [21]


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)Result
Academy Awards 2 March 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists [22] 19 December 2013Best Foreign Language FilmThomas VinterbergWon
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 VinterbergWon
Bodil Awards [23] 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 CinematographyCharlotte Bruus ChristensenWon
Cannes Film Festival 27 May 2012 Best Actor Mads MikkelsenWon
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Thomas VinterbergWon
Vulcan Award Charlotte Bruus ChristensenWon
Palme d'Or Thomas VinterbergNominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 16 December 2013Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Critics' Choice Awards 16 January 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association 16 December 2013Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
Satellite Awards 23 February 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
European Film Awards 1 December 2012 Best Film Thomas VinterbergNominated
Best Director Thomas VinterbergNominated
Best Actor Mads MikkelsenNominated
Best Screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias LindholmWon
Best Editor Janus Billeskov Jansen, Anne ØsterudNominated
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 2015Best ActorMads MikkelsenNominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards 20 January 2013 Actor of the Year Mads MikkelsenNominated
National Board of Review Awards 4 December 2013Top Foreign FilmsWon
Nordic Council Film Prize 30 October 2013Nordic Council Film PrizeThomas VinterbergWon
Online Film Critics Society Awards 16 December 2013 Best Actor Mads MikkelsenNominated
Robert Awards [24] 27 January 2014 Best Danish Film Thomas VinterbergWon
Best Director Thomas VinterbergWon
Best Original ScreenplayThomas Vinterberg, Tobias LindholmWon
Best Actor Mads MikkelsenWon
Best Supporting ActorThomas Bo LarsenNominated
Best Supporting ActressSusse WoldWon
Anne Louise HassingNominated
Best CinematographyCharlotte Bruus ChristensenNominated
Best EditingAnne Østerud, Janus Billeskov JansenWon
Best Production DesignTorben Stig NielsenNominated
Best Costume DesignManon RasmussenNominated
Best Make-UpBjørg SerupNominated
Best Original ScoreNikolaj EgelundNominated
Best SoundKristian Eidnes Andersen, Thomas JægerNominated
Audience Award - Best DramaThomas VinterbergWon
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards 16 December 2013Best Foreign Language FilmNominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards [25] 11 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association [26] 16 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Runner-up
Vancouver International Film Festival 12 October 2012Rogers People's Choice AwardThomas VinterbergWon
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards 9 December 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated

Stage adaptation

The Hunt was adapted for the stage in 2019 by David Farr, and produced at the Almeida Theatre in London. The production was directed by Rupert Goold and starred Tobias Menzies as Lucas. The production ran between 19 June – 3 August 2019. [27] [28]

See also

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