Jagten aka The Hunt (2012) – A Thothful Movie Review
Oh my frikkin goodness…
(Quick Warning – Do Not Watch the Trailer to This Movie If You Haven’t Already)
… Jagten aka The Hunt (2012) – I’m thinking I’ve never ever before witnessed a movie that’s as intense as this. When this movie started – I was breathing normally… 15 minutes into it – I’m thinking I was barely remembering to do so. The backrest of my chair remained intensely – squint eyed – braced for an impact that never came until this movie ended, only after which I sat back with an awe-struck crash and “Daaamn!”
(Yes, #NonThinkers – that was a metaphorical interpretation of my-chair’s state throughout this movie, used to parallel the edge-of-the-seat experience this movie induces)
I’m thinking, you’re thinking – well, it is called The Hunt – so it is bound to be an action-packed fast-paced suspenseful movie involving a hunt… Yeah, you’re completely wrong if that’s what you’ve concluded. Jagten is a slow movie, as slow as they come, and unlike most slow movies – I’m thinking – this movie will keep you intensely gripped in its slow embrace, your expressions and emotions varying between different kinds of intense – from intensely shocked, to intensely disturbed, to intensely sad, to intensely confused, to intensely awed…
(I’m thinking there is no word that describes this movie better than the word – Intense)
Truth is, I’m thinking, nobody wants to reveal the plot for Jagten – because nobody wants to risk spoiling how off-guard the plot kicks you in the kebabs. But now that I’m thinking, I realize that masterpieces like this movie can’t be spoiled, because this movie is not so much about what it’s about, but it’s rather one of those movie that’s about – how – what it’s about, plays out… I’m thinking.
(You’re thinking – I talk confusing? I’m thinking – you haven’t read movie monk Confusious’s review yet)
So… the plot!
Lucas (played by Mads Mikkelsen) – is a sweet seeming quiet guy that lives in a close-knit Danish hunting community, with people that he’s grown up with. He hangs out with everyone, plays drinking games with his buds regularly and they go hunting together as part of their society’s tradition. He owns a dog called Fanny (maybe it means something nice in Danish). And he works at the community’s kindergarten, because he gets along exceptionally well with the kids. This is why Lucas’ only tragedy in life is his teenage son kept away from him by a divorce… Until one fine day he finds out that a kid from the kindergarten he loves working at so much – has accused him of sexual indecency, and other kids are soon corroborating with similar stories.
(This movie gave me an awe-struck perspective into Mads Mikkelsen as an actor, who I’ve last seen as Hannibal Lector in the recent TV Show, and the villain in Casino Royale before that)
Mads Mikkelsen as protagonist/antagonist – Lucas
For ever more now, if anybody asks me to list my best performances by an actor, I shan’t forget to point to Mads Mikkelson in Jagten. The challenge of playing the character Lucas – is that he is an unassuming quiet fellow that doesn’t seem to be the type to voice his thoughts too much. The direction and writing of the movie has to be praised here as well, because while Jagten is a drama, I’m thinking, it is far above the usual dramas where the protagonist delivers an emotional, eloquent speech – to make his case, to explain his perspective, to articulate the pent up emotions we feel as viewers. This movie does none of that, and so it falls to Mads Mikkelson to instead do all of that instead, with his expressions, body language and bare minimum dialogue. And – I’m thinking – he expresses himself and communicates his character’s mind-state thus, just as well as some of the most hard-hitting dialogues in movie history.
Thoth’s rules for When, Why & Who-with to watch movies like Jagten aka The Hunt –
- You’re in the mood for an intense thought-provoking drama/thriller and mom/wife/woman or the reverse order of the opposite sex isn’t in a position to disturb you.
- Do not watch this movie with people that are impatient, restless, fidgety, extra-jumpy, inattentive and that SMS-DURING-THE-MOVIE!!! (such people need to be banned from movie-watching).
Why (if nothing I’ve said thus far has convinced you) –
- It has gotten a 8.3 on IMDB and Ranks 106 in Top 250 movies of all time. 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. 35 Awards Won and 65 Nominations (including an Oscar and Golden Globe Nomination)
The Philosophy of Jagten
Jagten presents us, I’m thinking, with the Who-To-Believe and Taking-Law-Into-Your-Own-Hand philosophical dilemmas. If we catch a thief – I’m thinking – we’ll probably be okay with the cops dealing with him, yet if we find out a friend/relative has been molesting our child – how many of us will resist the temptation of physically revenging our “innocent” kid?
(Revenging – present participle, for the word Revenge. It is preferable to use the word Avenging)
We’re so used to picking sides and callously categorizing our judgments into heroes and villains that we fail to remember – the essence of Justice is to treat the victim and the accused with the same courtesy, until the truth has told its tale.
The questions Jagten leaves you with –
Who is likely to be more innocent – a grownup or a child? Will you take law into your hands if you believe your child’s molester is within your grasp? Is it okay to trade, interact and be cordial with a believed-to-be pedophile (Michael Jackson – for example)? How much can and must you trust the word of a child?
My Thothful Conclusions –
I’m thinking, children are our responsibility, their defense is our priority and they truly are innocent. But we often mistake innocence as incapable of danger or harm, and if you’re not guilty of not watching Game of Thrones – then I’m thinking – Ned Stark has sufficiently proven otherwise. Additionally, Jagten bares how inclined towards passing judgement and sentences on the lives of other people – we humans are, even though we know so little. And if we are so inclined towards making harsh and hasty judgement, and towards punishing others without sufficient cause – then are we as a species evil by nature? Are humans truly deserving of trust? And once you’ve been suspected of something in society (the Mark) – will the suspicions merely wait, in friendly gait, for you to display signs that confirm those suspicions, before shooting judgments at you (the Hunt)?
The THOTH plot for Jagten aka The Hunt –
If I had to write my own plot for the movie, I’m thinking this is what I’d say –
A deer strides amidst a serene, peaceful Danish forest – carpeted with red leaves. A serene Danish hunting community rests nearby. The deer – in its beautiful, innocent and its non-interfering life – should have no enemy to fear as it enjoyably eats plants… yet it can’t help but look over its shoulder with the suspicion of a man verging on paranoia. You realize that it’s looking at you – the viewer – its suspicions heightening. You’re thinking – Unnecessary? … BANG! The deer runs… Who shot at it? A hunter? Or you – the imagined viewer?… The deer will never know who hunts it, it will only ever know that it has been marked to be – The Hunt.