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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

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.