SPOILERS HEREIN: Those early wowser reviews for Thomas Vinterberg‘s The Hunt turned out to be misguided, in my view. I just came out of an 11 am screening and no offense but it’s attractively photographed, well-acted, middle-of-the-road TV movie crap.

It’s a small-town drama is about an innocent divorced man (Mads Mikkelsen) accused of child molestation, and how all his asshole “friends” very quickly fall away from him. And then, after torrents of ugliness, how everyone does a gradual turnaround. And how turn-the-other-cheek Mikkelsen accepts this reversal and accepts.

The deplorable behavior and rank stupidity seem somewhat credible on one level, but on another level appallingly false. “Why does this movie feel so oppressively full of shit?,” I kept asking myself. Forget the Crucible-resembling element, and the old, old story about small-town panic leading to the near-ruination of a man’s life. The bottom line is that this isn’t a satisfying story. Stupidity reigns, evil walks, justice isn’t served and a bullet slams into a tree at the very end. Zinngg!

Would best friends and longtime drinking and hunting buddies (except for one or two) really turn on an old friend like that, even when law officials have found a significant flaw in his accusers’ stories? Would a five-year-old create a ferocious fantasy because she feels faintly slighted when a certain adult neighbor tells her that kisses on the lips are only for parents and grandparents? Are parents so rock stupid as to completely discount this five-year-old when she recants said fantasy more than once? Would small-towners really descend to the level of terrified blind steers in a situation like this?

Maybe all this has happened (perhaps even countless times) but I didn’t buy it, not for a second. Not as Vinterberg showed it to me. The b.s. meter was going off constantly. “Beep-beep-beep-beep-beeeeeep-beepity-beep-beep-beeeeeep!”

First Showing‘s Alex Billington tweeted that he wanted to punch out several characters or words to that effect. Yeah, me too.

Tweetos: David Jenkins called it “worst in show. A jumped-up, cynical TV movie with chronic lack of ambition & zero insight into human psychology.” Mike D’Angelo wrote “let’s just say you’ve more or less seen this one once you know the premise.” Billington called it “infuriating, frustrating…a film about lies, full of lies. Too long. Ugh.”