IN A BETTER WORLD
(directed by Susanne Bier, 2011)
**** (out of 5)
> Here is another fine film from Danish director Susanne Bier, who does not appear capable of making bad movies. For my money, she is one of the best female directors currently working. (AFTER THE WEDDING, the original Danish version of BROTHERS)
. This Best Foreign Language Oscar winner is a potent family drama about what it is to be a male in Danish society. A man is roughed up by a complete brute of a clod, in front of his bullied child and his child’s only friend- but he takes the high ground, turning the other cheek so to speak. In one amazing scene, he goes in to the man’s work to confront him with words not fists, and demonstrate to the kids how a real man handles conflict. But his child’s friend can’t stomach this. He knows how you deal with bullies at school- unblinkingly head on, matching blow for blow, and takes it upon himself to exact revenge on the asshole- a revenge that could prompt a truly awful tragedy when it spins out of control.
. Very fine acting here from the adults- including Ms. Bier’s usual leading lady Trine Dyrholm, and from the kids who give very real, very heartbreaking performances. This BETTER WORLD is intense stuff and absolutely excellent filmmaking. I urge you to see it– and all of her fine films.
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