In A Better World

In A Better World

(Hævnen)
(2010)

Winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Danish drama from director Susanne Bier (After the Wedding, Brothers), following the lives of two Danish families, stretching from a refugee camp in Suden to a Danish provincial town.... More

In war-torn Sudan, physician Anton (Mikael Persbrandt) confronts a steady stream of tragedy and loss. Back home in Denmark, his estranged wife, Marianne (Trine Dyrholm), is concerned about their eldest son, Elias, who is picked on mercilessly. When new kid Christian arrives in class, he and Elias bond over a mutual hatred of the school bully. Surly and vicious since the loss of his mother, Christian is hardening into a rigid and ferocious manifestation of masculinity. His heartbroken father, Claus (Ulrich Thomsen), is finding it impossible to cope with Christian’s behaviour...Hide

Flicks Review

In a Better World pursues enigmas of revenge and forgiveness. Paralleling events at an African refugee camp and the lives of two troubled Danish families, Director Susanne Bier (After the Wedding, Brothers) explores difficult moral choices, questioning whether violence is as reprehensible as those who sit back and let violence occur. The film’s exquisite, light-infused images of blue sky and golden fields counterbalance the gruesome depictions of violence, highlighting the incongruity of such ugliness in the beautiful natural settings.

The acting is superb. The characters are all, in different ways, lonely and lost. Following his mother’s death, ten-year-old Christian (William Nielsen) moves from London to Denmark with his father. Christian’s moral perception of the world around him is rigidly fixed. His rage is tangible when he witnesses the bullying at his new school. Nielsen subtly exposes the grief beneath Christian’s confident veneer. His character works perfectly against that of his friend Elias (Markus Rygaard), a bullied outsider.

Elias’ father Aton (Mikael Persbrandt), a doctor at the refugee camp, faces his own moral dilemma when he is obliged to treat ‘Big Man’, a man who cuts open pregnant women’s stomachs for his own sick pleasure. The scene in which Aton loses his cool and shoves the injured ‘Big Man’ onto the ground is particularly moving. Persbrandt potently conveys Aton’s despair.

Whilst its lesson ultimately remains ambiguous, In a Better World is a fascinating parable, locating the tensions between justice and vengeance.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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BY freshdude superstar

The last film from Susanne Bier I saw was AFTER THE WEDDING and it stayed with me for quite some time. IN A BETTER WORLD did just the same: affect me and reaffirm my doubt in the human race. I know that's a pretty strong statement but it is a pretty strong film. Taking on very universal matters such as vengeance and forgiveness on many different levels.
Watch it on the big screen , it deserves it !


BY blacknaf lister

I can see why this movie won the Oscar for best foreign language film. I loved every minute of it. The two young boys were perfect for their parts and the cinematography was superb! The "bullying" theme was very thought-provoking. I will be recommending this movie to others.


BY ChrisyG wannabe

For me this film is about anger dealing with it. The two boys around whom the film centers are really well cast and act their parts brilliantly.
One boy is missing his father and wanting a friend, the other is angry at the world after his mother died and is trying to set the world to rights. The film is paced out with some poignantly reflective landscape scenes. Part of the film is set in a refugee camp in Africa where the father of one of the boys works as a humanitarian doctor, and the rest... More is set in their home town in Denmark.Hide


BY Wice superstar

I am still thinking about 'In a Better World" some days after seeing the movie; its many different layers are still unravelling in my mind. On the simplest, in a number of contexts, the movie looks at personal responsibility and choices - proaction, action, passivity. motivation, judgments. The viewer is treated to an intellectual exercise as well as the pleasure of watching a well produced film. Acting is great and photography buffs will love the gorgeous colours and great direction.... More I almost felt my stomach lurch at some points. I hid my eyes from time to time and I was wide-eyed at others. The characters and the story were real and involving.

Highly recommended.Hide


The Press Reviews

77% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A powerful contempo drama exploring behavioral connections between episodes of schoolyard bullying at home and escalating tribal violence abroad Full Review

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