As a little kiddie, I was pretty evil. But compared to those Danish kiddies: I wasn’t even close to being Satan.
Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) seems to be the type of guy you love to have around because you can always count on him to do the right thing. Sure, he’s divorced and rarely ever sees his kid, but that’s not really a judge of character. It’s just what happened. Can’t be so bad, right? Well, after one incident with a little girl, something about Lucas gets told to one person, then to another, then to another, and then so on and so forth until the whole small, Danish town that Lucas lives in, practically knows about it. But is this little girl telling the truth, or is this another one of those tricks that little kids pull, especially when they are the most emotionally-confused?
Movies like this piss me the hell off. No, not because they suck or anything (which, I’ll let you know, this film does not suck or anywhere near that), but because it unearths harsh realities and truths about the human-conscience that most of us like to shove away and state that “we don’t use” or “capable of”, yet, can’t help but do the exact opposite once thrust into the same exact situation. This is one of those movies; a movie where people act like real-life human-beings and you can’t stop asking the most simplest question of them all: Why?
“Why” is indeed the statement I had on my mind throughout the flick because it’s made fairly clear to us early on that not only is Lucas a noble man, but he’s also one that I could trust alone with any member of my family, whether it be my lonely housewife, or my sexually-confused teenager. Whichever one I left him with, I feel as if Lucas would do the right thing and keep his head up above the water. That’s why once people start to turn against Lucas and see him for a dirt-ball, pervert and molester, I angered beyond belief. It wasn’t like the people going against Lucas were strangers that just heard a nasty rumor, the people that were going against him were ones that knew him for many, many years before, hell, you could even go so far as to say his best friends.
However, like in the real world, once a word is spoken and something that is false, is somehow passed on as truth, then all hell breaks loose and thus begins a frenzy of people over-reacting to every nitty-gritty detail they hear or think about in their minds. Some may say that Lucas is too nice of a guy for people to really think he’s as big of a dirt-bag that this little girl has painted him as being, but you get help but think of a certain situation like this happening in real life, where real people hear certain types of gossip each and every day, and make up their own minds as to what’s true and what’s just chit-chatting.
Actually, I don’t think I’d be walking too far off the line if I went so far as to say that this could happen to anybody in the world, even you or me. Somebody could tell a lie, it getting to the wrong person, who not only spreads it on to more people, and continues the snowball effect until you realize that almost everybody you know or don’t even know, thinks you are scum and wants nothing to do with you. Obviously Lucas doesn’t seem like that guy, but everybody has heard otherwise, so he obviously has to be that guy, right?
Well, that’s where Thomas Vinterberg’s approach becomes a bit frustrating because we never know what to fully believe at times, especially when it seems like Lucas has every odd stacked up against him, sometimes it’s his own fault. By that, I mean that I wanted to punch Lucas so many times for being so damn modest about this whole situation, that I felt like he needed to take some sort of action, and take it quick before it spiraled even more out of control. Then again, that’s just me. I’m not Lucas, nor will I ever be Lucas. However, if I am ever thrown into the same situation as Lucas (and I can assure you, I most likely never will be), I will act my way, or the highway. But taking this is as Lucas’ story, I have to realize that this is a man’s man, one who cares for people, even if they don’t give a shit about him and it’s always hard to watch, especially when it seems like he’s getting treated like shite, for almost no reason whatsoever.
Then again, life doesn’t always have itself cut out for you and is not always going to be full of pumpkin pies and lemonade. Sometimes, you just have to look on the brighter side of things and realize you live another day, with new happenings, new consequences, new people and most of all, new beginnings. As dark, as grueling and especially as depressing as Vinterberg’s flick can be, he still reminds us that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel that we have to hold onto, no matter how grey life gets around us. We may feel like it’s us versus the world, but in reality; it’s only that way if you let it. Like Lucas, you have to constantly believe in yourself, and also believe in the others around you to look inside themselves and realize who they are, and see if they can find the better-versions of themselves. Sometimes, it’s almost too hard of a task to ask of people, especially in the midst of a situation as controversial as this, but if you can do it, you’re already one step ahead of everybody else.
That’s the point that this flick brings up, among all of the constant bashing and judging of other human’s emotions and how one tiny rumor, can spread like wildfire, especially amongst a small-ass community as the one here.
But like I said before, the one keeping his head above the ground is Lucas, who is played to perfection by Mads Mikkelsen, aka, one of those actors who needs to fully break-out into the American mainstream. I mean it. Clash of the Titans and Casino Royale ain’t cutting shit! Mikkelsen is the type of actor that we see for the hard-ass type of dude he looks to be in almost every one of his flicks, which makes his performance as the meek and mild Lucas, all the more impressive because of the way he’s able to play up this dude’s sweetness, while not forgetting about the sincerity that lies beneath his actions. Lucas, like I said before, didn’t always make the right decision I felt was best for his persona, at that point in time, but Mikkelsen at least had me believe that a guy like this would play it so chill and mellowed-out, that even you too would contemplate whether or not he did or he didn’t. There does come the inevitable question of “did he do it, or not?”, which had me wondering many, many times, but always had me coming to the same conclusion: Lucas is a good man, a man that wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone a presumably 5 year old girl, who also happens to be one of his closest friend’s daughters. Mikkelsen is able to make us believe in his faith and humanity, even when nobody else around him seems to be at all. Hollywood producers: Give this guy more to work with, rather than just being a villain.
Consensus: People will be enraged by just how the Hunt goes with it’s premise to show the harsh truths of humans, and how meaningless accusations can ruin a person’s being, no matter who that person may or may not be, but it always comes back to Lucas, played to perfection by Mads Mikkelsen, the type of actor you want in your movie because he can practically do it all, even if he does seem like he would eat my liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Oh, wrong Hannibal?
8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!