While The Celebration was viewed from the victim's retrospective point of view in adulthood, The Hunt is very much from the perspective of the alleged perpetrator.
From the start, it's clear that Lucas did not commit the act that he is accused of. What Vinterberg is concerned about is the way in which accusation can quickly escalate and the effect this has not only on the accused and parents of the 'victim' but the entire populace of a small town.
The film's main talking point is the commanding performance of star Mads Mikkelsen, who won best actor at Cannes last year for his performance. His Lucas is a kind, decent man, struggling to deal with the sudden hostility from the close-knit community he's a part of, and he does so with equal turns of rage, helplessness and confusion. With alarming speed we see him lose the loyalty and support of most of the people closest to him.
The rest of the cast is also flawless. The scenes involving the small girl are particularly well handled, never for a moment feeling contrived or relying on cheap sentiment.
This is a relentlessly intense experience, written and directed with intelligence and subtlety. It cements Mikkelsen's reputation as one of the great contemporary actors of world cinema, and sees Vinterberg back to the top of his game.