In a Better World (2010)
The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait.
Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Anton and his wife Marianne, who have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older, ten-year-old son Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, a new boy who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Christian's mother recently lost her battle with cancer, and Christian is greatly troubled by her death. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger. Ultimately, it is their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy.
Anton works as a doctor in an African war zone, treating the victims of a murderous militia. At home in Denmark, he has two sons and a broken marriage waiting. His son Elias is tormented at school, but new kid Christian scares the bullies off. Christian's mother is recently deceased, and he blames his father. When Anton has a brush with a stranger in town, he teaches the boys to turn the other cheek, but Christian is eager to react and enlists Elias to help. Back in Africa, an unexpected patient puts Anton's principles to the test.
Anton, his ten year old son Elias and Elias' new best friend Christian are involved in three separate incidents which ultimately question the morality of similar retaliation to physical bullying and other such acts of physical violence. When not trying to be father to Elias and younger son Morten or trying to patch up his disintegrating marriage to his physician wife Marianne in their coastal Danish hometown, Anton, a Swede who is also a physician, works at an African refugee camp, which is surrounded by brutal acts, especially against pregnant women, by a local kingpin. Christian and his father Claus have just moved back to the Danish town, where Claus grew up, following the death of Claus' wife from cancer. Christian blames his father and the world in general for his mother's death. Soon after his arrival to the town, Christian witnesses what is the systemic bullying of Elias by an older and bigger student named Sofus and Sofus' thugs. Being Elias' new friend, Christian also becomes Sofus' target. Christian decides there is only one way to stop the bullying. In another incident, Anton stops a fight between Morten and another young boy which results in Lars, the father of the other boy, physically assaulting Anton in front of both children, Elias and Christian. Anton refuses to fight back believing that physical retribution would bring him down to Lars' level, this attitude despite both Elias and Christian believing that Anton showed Lars nothing in his passivity. And back in Africa, the local kingpin comes into the refugee camp with his militia asking for potentially life saving medical assistance. Anton has to decide to help him or not, which is made all the more difficult by the kingpin's uncompromising attitude that his acts of violence against the women are justified.
The story traces elements from a drab refugee camp in Sudan to the gray humdrum of everyday life in a Danish provincial town. The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait. Soon, friendship transforms into a dangerous alliance and a breathtaking pursuit in which life is at stake.
- The story traces elements from a drab refugee camp in Sudan to the grey humdrum of everyday life in a Danish provincial town. The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait. Soon, friendship transforms into a dangerous alliance and a breathtaking pursuit in which life is at stake.