In a Better World 2010 CC

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(26) IMDb 7.7/10
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Winner of the 2011 Oscar & Golden Globe award for Best Foreign Film, IN A BETTER WORLD is a gripping drama about revenge and the power of forgiveness from internationally acclaimed director Susanne Bier(After The Wedding) From a war-torn refugee camp to the deceptively idyllic Danish countryside, two fragile worlds are inextricably linked by conflict and violence. Anton is a doctor whose work bridges the divide between these two dramatically contrasted lands and who must confront an unavoidable moral dilemma. His son Elias, the victim of school bullies, forms a friendship with the troubled Christian, but this soon transforms into a dangerous alliance. IN A BETTER WORLD is a powerhouse piece of filmmaking that asks demanding questions about violence and the difficulty of ‘turning the other cheek'

Starring:
Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 59 minutes
Starring Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Wil Johnson, Satu Helena Mikkelinen
Director Susanne Bier
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA SALES
Rental release 9 January 2012
Main languages Danish, Swedish, English
Subtitles English
Original title Hævnen
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 59 minutes
Starring Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Wil Johnson, Satu Helena Mikkelinen
Director Susanne Bier
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA SALES
Rental release 9 January 2012
Main languages Danish, Swedish, English
Subtitles English
Original title Hævnen

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.1 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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Mar 2012
Format: DVD
I found this a quietly riveting film with some especially sterling acting. An air of mystery surrounded its soundtrack and direction and I found the bond between the two young boys tenable and touching.

Whilst the African scenario is interesting, it takes second billing for me. The elements surrounding family trust and time and love given was fascinating and well done. Bullying, in several forms, whether brutal and un-policed, as in Africa, or in a Scandinavian school or within society itself and its repercussions thereafter were explored well and worked nicely.

I cannot readily compare it to any film I know of; that is refreshing in itself and had me hooked from start to end. In A Better World can be enjoyed and appreciated by a wide audience and not just those of us who are into World Cinema.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By dipesh parmar on 14 July 2012
Format: DVD
Anton (Mikael Persbrandt) is a doctor at an African refugee camp, Claus (Ulrich Thomsen) is a businessman whose wife has just died of cancer. Their worlds collide through their sons, Anton's son is Elias (Markus Rygaard) and Claus's son is Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen).

Christian starts a new school, and befriends Elias who is often bullied. Christian is full of anger and unresolved grief over the loss of his mother, and naturally takes it out on his father. Seeing Elias being bullied, Christian channels his anger into persuading Elias that the only true of course of action is revenge. Anton has separated from his wife, and when he is not working in Africa he looks after his children. Anton is involved in a very different form of bullying, not just in Africa but at home where he is involved in a petty squabble between his younger son and another boy and his father Lars (Kim Bodnia). Anton sets an example to his children through nonviolent confrontation, but Elias doesn't see it this way and decides on a different route of action with Christian taking the lead.

Anton and Claus lead extremely busy lives, to the detriment of their relationship with their sons. They have their own sense of loss and regret, both seemingly failing as parents and forced to watch their sons take matters into their own hands. There's a fine balance in the film between characters who act with cruelty and those who act with kindness, and which poses moral choices for those who fall somewhere in-between.

The acting from everyone is excellent, especially by the stoic Mikael Persbrandt and William Jøhnk Nielsen. The direction from Susanne Bier is good, but the film is let down by the predictability of the parallel stories.
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