In a Better World

"Extraordinary"

In a Better World Review


This gorgeously assembled Oscar-winning Danish drama explores the nature of violence in a deeply unsettling way. Watching the events unfold is often painfully intense, as we see through the eyes of a variety of conflicted characters.

After his mother dies, 12-year-old Christian (Nielsen) and his father Claus (Thomsen) move from London back to Denmark. Christian is angry at the world, and lashes out at the bully (Holm) in his new school. He befriends the bullied Elias (Rygaard), whose parents Marianne and Anton (Dyrholm and Persbrandt) are splitting up, partly because Anton spends large periods of time working as a doctor in rural Africa. Then after a local bigot (Bodnia) slaps Anton, Christian hatches a plan to get revenge in a very violent way.

Indeed, the original title means "revenge", and the film explores how far the five central characters can go before they snap. Each of these people is so complex that we're never quite sure what they might do as they're pushed to the brink by things like everyday peer pressure, rampant machismo and encounters with authorities in school and society. And while the scenes in Africa seem like an aside, they add a startling slant on the film's overall theme.

The film is beautifully shot and edited, with a subtle musical score and quietly clever direction that continually rattles us. This intimate approach brings out staggering performances, revealing inner resilience in complex situations. Nielsen has the most difficult role, walking a fine line between a grieving boy and a full-on sociopath. Will he grow up to be a thoughtless idiot like Bodnia's thug, or can he learn from his mistakes?

Bier assuredly shifts the film's tone from warm drama to dark intensity to all-out horror, while never abandoning the tight focus on the characters.

Scenes atop a local silo are fraught with potential tragedy, while scuffles between children are echoed in scarier clashes between adults. Each relationship is a bundle of expectations and recriminations that are never simplified. And as the events escalate, the film never overstates its central message about Western society and the culture of revenge that we are falling into.



In a Better World

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 26th August 2010

Box Office USA: $1.0M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Zentropa Entertainments

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 89 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Sisse Graum Jorgensen

Starring: as Anton, as Marianne, as Claus, William Jøhnk Nielsen as Christian, Markus Rygaard as Elias, Martin Buch as Niels, Anette Støvelbæk as Hanne, as Lars, Tina Gylling Mortensen as Social Worker, Stig Hoffmeyer as Doctor, Camilla Bendix as Runner, as Doctor, Susanne Juhász as Nurse

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.