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|Index||91 reviews in total|
Saw this in Toronto and it remained with me for days afterward. Shattering filmmaking! The size and elegance of a Hollywood big budget, with the honesty and challenge of an indy. The performances, especially those of the two boys, are riveting, but I was also impressed with the deep focus photography, the haunting score. Went to see this because I had so enjoyed After the Wedding - but feel this is even better. Only the ending conflict resolution is, perhaps, a little too easy-- but not unearned. And oh boy, was I grateful for it. I want to see this with my son, because I want him to experience the moral and emotional snake pit Bier and her screenwriter toss us into: every guy --no matter what age-- will get it, and none of us will like it very much. To me, Bier speaks about what it SHOULD mean to be a man. Is vengeance built into our genes? I hope not. And I hope this wins the Academy Award this year, and everybody in America goes to see it.
I went to see this movie with no expectations what so ever. When we
arrived to the theater i saw people leaving (who just saw the movie)
with tears streaming down their face. Inside the theater people was
talking and laughing but after a few minutes their was a deadly silence
all around us. The story is so well-written and the actors play just
marvelous. Even the child actors, who often ruin most movies, were
casted and performed perfectly. The camera setting is some of the best
i've seen in a long time. There are so many beautiful scenes from
Denmark aswel in some African country.
I highly recommend every one to go see this movie. The story is well written, and not full of the usual clichés film these days are full off. Susanne Bier has truly pulled of a masterpiece.
I heard a rumor after wards that this movie might be nominated for an Oscar, which i really hope for. Everyone should watch this emotional movie.
And for you who are wondering if i left the theater crying no i didn't, but my eyes got wet 3 or 4 times during the movie. That happens extremely rarely for me.
I saw this on the plane the other day, and my only regret is that it
was on a small screen.
I've come to like Danish films in general (and Ulrich Thomsen in particular) in recent years, although they are usually not very easy to watch. What they all seem to have in common is a certain melancholy, and they can therefore come across as rather depressing.
The same here. Christian's mother's cancer death is quite obviously affecting both the boy and his dad very, very deeply (though in very different ways), and the deep sorrow seem catchy for the viewer as well. It is probably also, however, a sign of the brilliant acting.
The parallel storyline of Elias and his parents, who are in the process of a divorce, affects the viewer equally deeply.
The stories are brilliantly interlinked, and the underlying theme of revenge is constantly there and makes us think. A lot! A deep-going, dramatic and extremely powerful movie, which, I think, a wide audience should see. In my view, it would certainly deserve an Oscar!
Is there any subject more mistreated in movies than retaliation? No, I
don't think so. There's a dishonourable and long history about it and
calling some of the stuff redneck and primitive is being unfair to the
whole redneck movement.
Susanna Bier puts other dimensions to it. The boy being bullied at school is also an old subject, but here the real painful questions about so called pay-back are thrown in our faces. A revenge is seldom just a revenge; it brings other consequences too. That sounds like a cliché, but Susanne Bier says it in a way which concerns us. Like vengeance movies seldom do.
Great performance by Mikael Persbrandt, well known for misusing his talent too many times. But not here.
After his mother's death, Christian moves once again, and starts in a new school. He meets Elias, and defends him against bullies. The latter's father works as a doctor in Africa, with a sadistic crime lord nearby. And so we have the setting for a drama exploring revenge, as well as power struggles, loss and fear. The overall moral isn't going to surprise anyone(and it isn't entirely consistent), and this does occasionally stoop to a cliché. However, it remains a gripping and effective film, and it manages to interject a lot of insight and truth, seeing situations from multiple different perspectives. This is the second movie by Bier that I watch, and I am confirmed in my assertion that Things We Lost in The Fire was a fluke, and not representative of her level of talent(it should be noted that the main problem with that one was the script, and she had nothing to do with that). She abandons the eyeball shots, and there is much rejoicing. The camera is close at times, though no longer oppressively so. This has a cinematography similar to the show NCIS, with hand-held cameras. I didn't feel like the nature footage added anything, at least not that of Denmark. The editing puts you right there, without being annoying or particularly drawing attention to itself. This is written by the man behind Den Du Frygter, Mørke and Blinkende Lygter(and other famous ones, but those are the ones I've seen and liked), and his skill and credible, human characters(that are the focus) shines through. Everything is set up, and most of it pays off. The acting is excellent, without exception, the kids especially. Our half-way orphaned lead captures every look and movement to perfection, and they really did find someone who could be Thomsen's son. Bodnia returns to a typecast role for him, and delivers. The vast majority of the humor works, and nearly none of it detracts from the serious and important subject. Everyone can recognize the little brother in someone they do or have known. The music is appropriate and not distracting. Dialog is great. No soap opera moments, it all comes across as entirely genuine, and nothing comes out of the blue. The tone is mature and honest; we don't feel preached to, or lectured, this respects its audience and honestly understands what it has to say, it isn't merely repeating a mantra. There is gore(think ER) and disturbing content in this. I recommend it to anyone that this at all appeals to. 8/10
Greetings again from the darkness. As is customary, the Oscar winner
for Best Foreign Language film finally makes it to Dallas in April
AFTER the awards show is long forgotten (well, except for the
half-assed hosting job by James Franco). Denmark's entry, directed by
Susanne Bier (Things We Lost in the Fire), is overflowing with every
human emotion one can imagine. However, the battle between two emotions
is most prevalent: misplaced revenge and forgiveness.
At it's core, this is a story of two fathers and two sons. The presentation is quite odd in that it tries desperately to tie in all spectrum of human emotion and economic standing. Anton (Mikael Persbrandt from the excellent 2008 "Everlasting Moments") travels back and forth between an African refugee camp where he serves as a doctor, and his upscale Denmark home where he is separated from his wife and trying to set a good example for his son Elias (Markus Rygaard).
The other father is Claus (Ulrich Thomsen) whose relationship with his son Christian (William Johnk Nielsen) is flat out terrible. Christian's mother has recently lost her battle with cancer and it has caused a rift between these two ... and lit a fire of anger in young Christian.
Soon enough Christian stumbles upon Elias being bullied at school. His flaming temper sets the bully straight with a violent act, creating a bond between Elias and Christian. Sadly Christian continues to spin off axis and he drags Elias along.
As a doctor in the camp, Anton constantly strives to repair the despicable acts of the local town bully. This is used to contrast with what's going on with his own son at home. There are many parts of the film that are difficult to watch, especially as Christian just loses his grip on reality.
While I certainly see the excellence in the film, I believe the filmmakers tried too hard to stage the contrast. The story of the boys was plenty powerful enough to carry a film. Also, the doctor in the camp could have made a chilling movie on it's own. Instead we gets bits of each and that's fine ... just not what it might have been.
Denmark's contribution to the Academy Award for best foreign language
film in 2011 delivers with great directing, acting and storytelling.
After his mother's funeral Christian moves to Denmark with his father, who he holds responsible for his mother's passing. On his first day at school in his home-country he meets Elias who is getting bullied by the schools boy mafia and defends him.
Two families struck by conflict crosses each other in Susanne Bier's tenth feature film where a thoroughgoing story from two different worlds about fathers and sons, revenge and redemption, sorrow, child upbringing and friendship is conveyed through Susanne Bier's varied perspectives and intimate filming. Susanne Bier's recently Golden Globe nominated film is an in-depth study of character with a brilliant Mikael Persbrandt in a somewhat untypical role where he really gets the chance to show his warmest character trades and several less though essential character studies of Ulrich Thomsen who is efficient in an underplayed role as a father trying to reach his son, the often engaging Trine Dyrholm in the leading female role and the two excellent young actors playing Elias and Christian. The films stunning cinematography, its tailored narrative and the thoughtful dialog in this compelling and well written psychological drama, makes it one of Susanne Bier's strongest dramas concerning human relations.
A good movie is a good movie. But I seldom have seen such a fantastic
movie from Scandinavia. The photo, the locations, the casting, the
music, the acting, a strong story and Susanne Biers touch of directing.
I was really glad to see Mikael Persbrandt in this kind of roll, hoping to see more of this... The two young boys, playing the main characters, wow! We have not seen the last of this young men!
A strong story on many levels, a beautiful sadness from the Nordic country's, with a high recognize level for most people...
You really need to see this film, one of the best ones I have seen in years.
I wouldn't be surprised if this movie wins a ton of awards.
Susanne Bier, you have made a lot of good films before this one, but for this one I really salute you.
'IN A BETTER WORLD': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
This Danish drama won Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards (as well as the 2011 Golden Globe). It deals with violence in Denmark among children when two ten year olds meet at school and form an unhealthy alliance against bullies. The film was titled 'Haevnen' in Danish which means 'The Revenge'. It was directed by Susanne Bier and written by Anders Thomas Jensen. It stars Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt (and some of the film is spoken in Swedish, as well as English) as well as Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, William Johnk Nielsen and Markus Rygaard. I found the film interesting and well made but not nearly as good as all the critical acclaim and accolades it's gotten.
The film focuses on a boy named Elias (Rygaard) who is constantly picked on and abused by bullies at his school in Denmark. His father, Anton (Persbrandt), is a doctor who works at a refugee camp in Africa and is constantly commuting back and forth. Anton and Elias's mother, Marianne (Dyrholm), have not been getting along and are contemplating a divorce. Elias's younger brother has not been effected by this as much as he has but his parent's problems combined with the bullying at school has caused a lot of emotional problems for Elias. When a new kid named Christian (Nielsen) moves to town with his father, Claus (Thomsen), from London Elias finally finds a good friend and someone he can relate to. Christian, having just lost his mother to cancer, has psychological issues of his own and is eager to help Elias with his problems. They first get revenge on the main bully picking on Elias at school in a somewhat brutal way but when Anton is assaulted by another father their ideas for revenge turn much more dangerous.
I could really relate to the outcast elements of the film and the issues of dealing with bullying and finding that one friend you can really relate to but I didn't understand the depression issues that pushed the kids towards violence so easily. I've read that's part of the film's point, exploring "how little it takes before a child - or an adult - thinks something is deeply unjust" (as said by Bier herself, according to Wikipedia). In that way the film works but I couldn't really find it relatable. For a film to really work for me it has to strike certain emotions and I have to connect with it in some kind of way (either emotionally or on a pure entertainment level) and this film didn't do that for me (as well made as it is). The acting, directing and writing are all more than adequate but in my opinion it's far from a great film.
Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUMkZYiXwNQ
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To put it simply, IN A BETTER WORLD is about revenge. And we see this form of behavior happening all over the place so its theme couldn't be more relevant today. Al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in New York so the US attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. Israelis attacked the Palestinians. Palestinians attacked back. Indians attacked the Pakistanis. Pakistanis attacked back. And on and on it goes. The important question that is raised in IN A BETTER WORLD is: How far should you go when someone does you wrong? It is important to defend yourself when someone attacks you. This is what happened in IN A BETTER WORLD. At the beginning of the film, a bully picked on a weakling named Elias. The bully called him names and pushed him around. His friend, Christian, was horrified by Elias not standing up for himself so he took it upon himself to defend Elias. This is a recurring behavior of Christian throughout the movie. If a person did him or someone else wrong then he sought revenge. He did this with his father by accusing him of not loving his mother. He did this with a mechanic who struck Elia's father. And, as I said before, he did it with the bully who picked on Elias. Why does Christian have this vengeful nature? It could all stem to his mother's death. He probably felt cheated out that his mother died at a young age so he is now filled with hate and revenge. And if he sees any kind of injustice in the world, he fights back. The problem with Christian's thinking is that it's impossible to fight all the injustices in the world without incurring some consequences. And some of those consequences are horrible. Unfortunately, Christian has to learn this lesson the hard way. So, how far should you go when someone does you wrong? Go and see IN A BETTER WORLD to find out. Highly recommended.
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