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Movie review: Mikkelsen's acting gives 'The Hunt' its bite

Published August 15, 2013 3:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The great Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen gives a powerful performance in "The Hunt," an intense melodrama of an average man doomed by an innocent lie.

Mikkelsen plays Lucas, who's battling his ex-wife for custody of their teen son (Lasse Fogelstrøm) while he takes a job at the local kindergarten. Then Klara (Annika Wennerkopp), the 5-year-old daughter of Lucas' best friend Theo (Thomas Bo Larsen), tells the school's principal, Grethe (Susse Wold), a made-up story that Lucas showed her his genitals. The accusation spreads like a virus as panicked parents start thinking their kids were also molested, and Lucas becomes a pariah among his neighbors and former friends.

Director Thomas Vinterberg ("Dear Wendy," "The Celebration"), co-writing with Thomas Lindholm ("A Hijacking"), lays on the small-town stereotypes a bit thick to push the audience's buttons. But Mikkelsen (now freaking out Americans as the title character of NBC's "Hannibal") gives the persecuted Lucas a gravity and an intensity that make for compelling viewing.

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'The Hunt'

Opens Friday, Aug. 16, at Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content including a graphic image, violence and language; in Danish with subtitles; 115 minutes.