In a Better World
Directed by Susanne Bier. Denmark. 2010. R. 119 minutes. Sony. 35mm.
Tue., June 14, 2011 thru Wed., June 22, 2011
“Anton (Mikael Persbrandt) and his wife, Marianne (Trine Dyrholm), are doctors. Much of his time is spent in Africa, where he tends the sick under harsh and even dangerous conditions; she remains at home in Denmark. Now separated, they have two sons, one of whom, Elias (Markus Rygaard), is badly bullied at schoola crisis that endures until a new boy named Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen) arrives, stands up for him, and pulls a knife on the persecutor. At no point does Susanne Biers film stray far from the borders of violence, whether its the violence of disease, of calculated payback, or simply of insufferable feeling. By and large, the children in the movie cleave instinctively to an Old Testament view of wrongs inflicted and answered, whereas most of the adults, who seem at once weaker and more disciplined, subscribe, at least in theory, to Christian forgiveness. The result veers perilously close to the programmatic, ever more so as the plot proceeds, and there are scenes where we seem to be observing a moral demonstration as much as a drama; yet the movie does retain grip and grace, and the performancesby the child actors, in particularquicken the pulse of life, even in their obsession with death. Winner of this years Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In Danish.” (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker)
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