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In a Better World

1h 58m
The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait. (imdb)
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One of Bier's best films, if not her best. A flawed film to which the Academy took a liking, not surprisingly considering its topical elements, and it's not without merits. Persbrandt is great, as always; Thomsen solid, as usual. The kids are very good, Jøhnk Nielsen especially. The performances reach pitches of high melodrama not unlike those in 'After the Wedding', which is fine if you're into that sort of thing. Bier's exploration of old-hat themes reeks of self-importance, though.
Bier and Jensen fall into the same pit they did in Brothers, where they intertwine a good dramatic story in war torn somewhere, with a dull underdeveloped drama in rural Denmark. In this it's particularly annoying because Persbrandt's storyline is both moving and thematically interesting. I like the juxtaposition of Africa (chaos) with Denmark (civilization) and I appreciate the deconstruction of "Revenge", but as a whole the movie feels too scattershot to be truly poignant.
This is a thought-provoking, suspenseful film about ethical choices and their consequences. It also is a film about the permeable limits of non-violence, about friendship, courage and empathy, and about the fact that compassionate, peace-loving people sometimes come into conflict with bullies and with men who are violent and cruel. How should one act in such circumstances? There are no easy answers, but at least In a Better World asks the right questions.
Great handywork from Bier, but it never peaks... Feels like she's telling the same story she has done a couple of times before and I would personally have loved to leave out the Denmark part in order to see more of Persbrandts dilemma's in Africa. With that said, the kids does a great job and the cinematography is very good, but as a film Hævnen fails, but only by inches, when its reaching out to touch us. The Oscar should have gone to Kynodontas!
Vengence and self preservation is explored in the lives of two young boys who are bullied. Their retaliations extends to the perceived enemies of their parents. In Africa, a sadistic and brutal local gang leader needs aid from the doctor who has been tending to the victims of his atrocities. The doctor's deep beliefs in non-violence is tested when confronted with the man's savage attitude. Mikael Persbrandt was awesome. Good performances & generally an interesting and engaging story.
Avg Percentile 62.18% from 801 total ratings


28 Collections including 18 Collaborative and 10 Public

Cast & Info

Director: Susanne_BierSusanne Bier
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1h 58m
Countries: DenmarkSweden
AKAs: Civilization, Hævnen

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Last modified by:seanberndorffSeanBerndorff on Dec 19, 2010