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In a Better World [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard, William Jøhnk Nielsen
  • Directors: Susanne Bier
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Danish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Axiom Films
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Jan 2012
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005K8CDAW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,245 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


2011 Oscar & Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film, IN A BETTER WORLD is a gripping, heart-rending drama about revenge and the power of forgiveness from internationally acclaimed director Susanne Bier (After The Wedding). From the confines of a refugee camp in Africa, to the deceptively idyllic suburban life of two families in Denmark, Susanne Bier expertly paints a portrait of two fragile worlds inextricably linked by conflict and violence and the hard choices struggling to be made for life in a better world.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Aug 2011
Format: DVD
This skilfully shot, well-acted and tightly scripted Danish film deserves its Oscar. It will appeal to people of all ages and nationalities. You can sit back and view it simply as a "good yarn" about a couple of barely teenage boys who slip into delinquency for moral reasons, following a warped logic which may stem from unintentional neglect by their well-meaning, hardworking middle-class parents. If you wish, you can ponder the film's messages on a deeper level, focusing on the issues which strike a chord with your own concerns. In fact, the last thing this film does is preach. Instead, it highlights the complexity of morality.

Is Anton, the idealistic, pacifist surgeon to be admired for devoting his working life to caring for people in what looks like a poverty-stricken refugee camp somewhere in Africa, or is he selfishly avoiding his guilt over his estranged wife and neglecting his two young sons back in Denmark in the process? Is he right to agree to treat the local villain when his black colleagues wish to leave the man to rot? Has he failed morally when he is eventually driven to give way to righteous anger? Is there one moral standard for a brutal, impoverished developing country and another for liberal, affluent Denmark? Is Anton hopelessly naive to insist that "violence only begats violence" to the extent that he literally "turns the other cheek" when an aggressive man punches him in front of his two sons, one of whom is Elias, with his inaptly named friend Christian a sceptical observer?

Christian's fierce sense of justice - his determination neither to be bullied, nor to let a bully go unpunished - seems more realistic, but he takes it too far.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 18 Aug 2011
Format: DVD
Why are Scandinavians so hell-bent on persuading us their societies are miserable and dysfunctional? When's someone going to put out a Scandi Rom-Com? (You will get precisely four Google hits should you search for "Danish Rom-Com" - all refer to the same film, Italian for Beginners - apparently very good, but having the misfortune to be released the week of 9/11.)

Well, if a Danish film entitled In A Better World fills you with expectation the drought might finally have broken, save your money. It is, instead, a pretty harrowing drama, beautifully staged and acted, as close in tone as I can think to Swedish Romantic-Horror Let Let The Right One In. Which is to say, grim.

The opening titles are projected downward onto a scene of sandy African hinterland cropped in such a way that it might be a close up of a banana. From there we open on a painterly tableau: a sweeping African landscape vaulted over by a heaving, boiling sky. The locale of the film switches between here and autumnal, coastal Denmark, between which Anton, a field doctor divides his time.

We also have parallel stories: Elias, Anton's son, is bullied at school. His home is also fractured: not only because Anton spends most of his time in an African refugee camp, but also because Anton's marriage is falling apart.

Christian is a new boy in Elias' school, transplanted out of a wealthy London boarding school following his mother's death from cancer. We first meet Christian as he flawlessly, but coldly, delivers his mother's eulogy over her coffin. In an early playground confrontation he comes to Elias' aid and reveals himself as a fearless child with a destructive streak.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By polo on 11 Feb 2012
Format: DVD
Excellent film. Well acted. Beautifully filmed. Shows the contrast between a nordic society and its values and an african society where the values have broken down thanks to tribal warfare. Well worth seeing. Only sorry it had such a short run being released. Winner of Oscar and Golden Globe award 2011 for Best Foreign Film in Cannes
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun 2012
Format: DVD
Danish director Susanne Bier's 2010 Oscar-winner is a finely written and intelligently scripted piece of work, full of superb acting especially from the two children as main characters. Its underlying theme is social violence in different forms and the moral question of how to respond to it most effectively. The film's title in the original Danish translates as `The Revenge'.

Mikael Persbrandt plays Anton, a Swedish surgeon vocationally devoted to charity work in a Sudanese refugee camp whose occasional visits to his middle-class Danish home are punctuated by marital difficulties with wife Marianne (a superb Trine Dyrholm), and trying to be a role model to his two young sons. The elder son Elias (played by the excellent and promising young Markus Rygaard) is bullied at school because he's Swedish - a recurrent theme in other Danish films over the years so presumably a persistent if minor social problem in Denmark - and befriended and protected by another boy, Christian, who has a strong sense of righteous moral justice but harbours a worryingly violent streak bordering on the psychotic.

Only-child Christian has recently moved to the locality from London with his bereaved father, Claus (played in an understated performance by Ulrich Thomsen). Christian's mother died of cancer following a long degenerative illness and although both father and son seem to be coping well on the surface deeper wounds lie beneath, to be uncovered as the story unfolds.
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