Danish director Thomas Vinterberg may never top the complex family dynamics that made his “The Celebration” into such a remarkable chamber piece, but he hasn’t lost an ability to construct an engrossing narrative with dark, provocative shades of ambiguity. This engaging story of a kindhearted man inadvertently accused of child abuse and alienated from his close friends sports a marvelous performance by Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. As the man faces alienation from his erstwhile friends and colleagues, the alienation process starts to resemble a witch hunt. No matter the intense desperation of its main character, however, the movie invites plenty of nitpicking with regard to the screenplay, which includes a number of logical gaps that hold it back from being as emotionally charged as Vinterberg clearly wants to make it. (Why doesn’t he just explain that it was all a misunderstanding?) Still, as the assailed man starts facing death threats and the nightmare shows no sign of letting up, “The Hunt” develops into a devastating portrait of society’s tenuous structure under the pressures of fear. Criticwire grade: B [Eric Kohn]
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