Jagten [The Hunt] (2012)

(On Cable TV, March 2015) Most films are maddening because they fail, but The Hunt is infuriating on purpose.  It tells, in painful details, what happens in a small Danish community when a kind and quiet man is falsely accused of exposing himself to a child.  The ostracism and violence that follows feels all-too-real, as is the protagonist’s decent in a kind of madness when everyone leagues against him.  Mads Mikkelsen is splendid in the lead role, his good social standing being destroyed scene after scene as other decide to make an example out of him.  For the viewer, there’s real frustration in seeing a small childish fib become bigger, emboldened by adults rushing to judgement.  Under director Thomas Vinterberg’s clinical, down-to-Earth direction, the film is designed to make viewers grit their teeth and sigh helplessly at the screen.  As a result, no one should be surprised to find that the film gets great reviews… but that few people would be willing to see it a second time.

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