Sunday, December 22, 2013

Judgment Rising: The Hunt

Last week, I had a friend of mine tell me that I lived a double-standard.  That wouldn't have been so bad by itself, but she based it on a statement that she remembered me making that I had never made, nor implied. And no matter how much I clarified my point of view, it did not change her judgment of me.

I was watching a fantastic episode of the West Wing ("Isaac and Ishmael") in which an Arab American was accused of being a terrorist, and every time that he was previously falsely accused of this before was being brought up against him as proof of his guilt in this circumstance.

It is a commonplace that we live in a world of pain and that the hardest story must be the truest one.  "You may not like it, but it's true."  But in reality, this assumption that the most difficult must be true leads us to false judgments.  The Passion of the Christ is brutal... in reality TOO brutal.  Historically, it is inaccurate because there are too many beatings and too much blood.

When we take this point of view to our lives, we find that we think the worst about people because it is the "harsh reality" we believe in, not because there is any real evidence of the fact.

The Hunt gives us the harsh reality that reality is more harsh when we assume the worst.  The worst criminal activity happens when people assume someone is a criminal, with or without evidence.  Our fears create more harm against the innocent than they protect the innocent.

The Hunt deals with judgmentalism and forgiveness by just telling the story of an individual that applies to everyday situations, much as the Dardenne brothers do.  Each performance is remarkable in the everyday quality of the reactions, despite the unique circumstances. By the end of the film, I was telling characters what to do or not do at the top of my voice.  I apologize to my wife.  She told me that I shouldn't watch it.

Despite my wife's objections, I highly recommend the film to those who prefer their morality dramas to be fully human and complex.

Thanks to Jessica for turning me onto this film.