By Douglas Cochran (Rhode Island)
The Hunt (2012) is a nearly tragic story that left me almost speechless. The slow deterioration of a man from a false accusation shows how easily allegations can ruin someone’s life. I was deeply moved by the accurate portrayal of the descent of a man whose life has been torn apart. The small town prosecution of a man who was found to be completely innocent was difficult to watch. Being at such a low point, divorced, losing a pet, or not being able to buy groceries in your own town shows how quickly and brutally people can change regardless of the truth. Lucas’s character was written extremely well, the way that he reacted to the accusations was accurate and believable.
I was particularly moved by the way that the little girl (Klara) was pushed around and coerced by the people around her after the initial accusation. Her family and the school refused to listen to her after she was trying to tell the truth. It was hard to watch how she was frustrated and influenced by her older brother and she even started to believe the lies. Her interaction with someone that she looked up to was permanently damaged by people not listening to her. She was put at the center of a massive problem and no one wanted to hear her out.
This is a story that has been shown plenty of times. A man is unjustly accused with no proof and his credibility is destroyed. No film I have ever seen has done it on such a personal and accurate level. The slow decline of a productive member of society, the way that Lucas pushes people away shows the way that a man’s life can fall apart so quickly. I cannot recommend this enough, the humanized aspect of a man losing hope in the people he cares about and those people losing hope in him.
I was viscerally angry at the people that were so cruel to Lucas and the people that would not listen to Klara. I cried when Lucas was taken away by police in front of his son. I know what it is like to be in his son’s position and the heavy impact that has on your relationship with your father.
This could have been a more compelling story had there been a certain level of uncertainty of Lucas’ guilt. But that would have also fundamentally changed the film, Lucas being a sympathetic character makes the story even more terrifying. When his hearing doesn’t find him guilty I assumed that things would start to get better but that’s when it seemed to get worse.
It’s natural to believe that children always tell the truth, but children also want to make the adults in their lives happy. This truth is shown so well with the exploration of confirmation bias, parents are told to look for certain symptoms of abuse in their children and people start to see things everywhere. Children are told a story and they all tell the same story. They all want to be part of a group and if parents are trying to tell them to talk about abuse then they will get stories about abuse.
I was left feeling uneasy after finishing the film, the ending raises many questions. Who was it? I know who I think it is, and who I think is the true villain of the story. But it shows how even old and forgiven problems can still have a lasting effect on relationships. I felt so moved by the ending, Lucas’ relationships will always be changed by what has happened and people will find it hard to move on and trust him again.
This movie is more scary than a horror movie, and has such a deep meaning, especially in 2020. The court of public opinion is stronger now more than ever and accusations can ruin lives and careers regardless of their credibility. The slow deterioration of a man’s life is a heart wrenching story that has you wondering what he may do next. I had a hard time predicting what would happen next, anyone in Lucas’ situation would be acting irrationally. It may be hard to watch for some, but The Hunt tells a thought provoking story about the prosecution and downfall of an innocent man, this film is a must watch especially in 2020.