Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of reviews Hypable will be running from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, currently taking place in France – The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelsen. Special thanks to our friend and critic, Marco Cerritos for the reviews.

Director Thomas Vinterberg made a splash at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival with The Celebration, a film about a psychologically damaged family airing its dirty laundry at a family get-together. Pedophilia was at the center of the film’s tough-to-watch moments, and Vinterberg hasn’t made a movie as coherent and powerful since.

Synergy has brought him back to Cannes with The Hunt, his new film that also uses pedophilia as a plot catalyst but in a much different way. Mads Mikkelsen, who is best known to American audiences as the villain in Casino Royale, stars as Lucas, a popular member of a small-town community that you mostly see in the movies but rarely in real life. He has lots of friends, teaches kindergarten and is dating another respected person in the tight-knit group. All seems well on the outside until a white lie from an ignorant and much younger suitor begins to destroy everything in Lucas’ life.

The unraveling of friendships, relationships and the community as a whole is at the center of The Hunt. Gossip and half-truths are blindly stated as fact, but also serve as a parallel for how we currently process information in today’s society. All of this serves as a terrible snowball effect for Lucas who continually pleads his innocence to a judgmental and frightened town. Words spread quickly in this hamlet, whether they are true or not.

The Hunt is a true return to form for Thomas Vinterberg, who in the last several years has served as an unofficial protégé of equally controversial director Lars von Trier. Vinterberg’s current output has been experimental at best (Submarino, Dear Wendy, It’s All About Love) and has never reached the true potential of his debut in The Celebration. Whatever his inspiration was for this latest film, the cinematic pieces have come together to tell a powerful story of heartbreak and misunderstanding.

Marco Cerritos is a fifteen-year veteran of the film critic scene in the Bay Area. When not arguing with friends over trivial movie plot points he spends his time traveling to film festivals and figuring out why Dubstep is so popular.

Grade: B+

Rated: NR

The Hunt does not have a distributor.

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