Worth Hunting Down

Review: The Hunting

Starring Asher Keddie and Richard Roxburgh

The Hunting is a new SBS miniseries that deals with cyberbullying, misogyny, and lack of consent. It centres on a group of students at two nearby Adelaide schools, their parents, and their teachers. When two local girls send explicit images of themselves to boys whom they trust, they find themselves betrayed when these boys pass these images along through a pornographic website. The show depicts the breakdown in their bonds, as the schools and parents respond.

Over the course of this miniseries, viewers see the children embroiled in the scandal, needing to deal with parents who blow the situation further out of control. All of this happens in a hyper mediated environment where every phone potentially spreads their secrets. Somewhat predictably, the girls end up somewhat blamed for the incident, told that they should not be sending the images.

Perhaps the best aspect of the miniseries is the way that the show so naturally facilitates conversations about very controversial matters that are important to discuss. The adults in the show so often themselves maker serious mistakes when it comes to respect and consent and the show features an interesting arc that builds over its four episodes.

While eye opening and helpful, The Hunting is not perfect. The show’s characters do not always come across as their own fleshed-out selves, often appearing instead as archetypes written purely to further the kind of conversation that the show’s creators wish to foster.

The Hunting’s finale arguably does not live up to three episodes, the denouement lacking the kind of impact initially promised. A somewhat flat ending here may be intentional however, as the audience is left to live and deal with their own unresolved tension.

Thankfully, The Hunting never becomes a purely didactic show. What makes it fascinating is the way each character is imperfect in their own way, each playing their own part in what happens. A lack of respect for boundaries and consent runs its way through many major characters, including the adults in their relationships with one another.

As a casual look at the themes would indicate, this show is distressing. There are instances when parents will undoubtedly panic at the scenarios depicted on screen. And yet, the show should serve to help frame discussions about sexuality, mutual respect, and the place that sexism plays in Australian culture.

To help aid this, SBS Learn has partnered with the eSafety Commissioner to create discussion guides for teachers, families, and carers to use when talking about cyberbullying and consent. These free resources are available here and help further open the show’s themes and are an ideal accompaniment.

The Hunting is rated M and is streaming now on SBS On Demand. View it free here.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor




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