Saturday, 19 February 2011

In A Better World: Movie Review

In A Better World: Movie Review

In A Better World
Rating: 8/10
Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen
Director: Susanne Bier
After snagging a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and with an Oscar nomination in tow, it would appear In a Better World can do no wrong.
It opens in Africa with Persbrandt's Anton working as a doctor in a field hospital and dealing with the fall out of a warlord and combat.
Anton is the pacifist, preferring to take the moral high ground rather than strike the first blow - but it's more difficult for his son Elias back in Denmark. He's bullied by the school kids and a bit of a loner.
One day, new kid on the block, Christian defends him - and a friendship forms. But as the friendship grows, Christian, who's recently lost his mother to cancer and is full of anger plots revenge on those who would do him and his friends wrong.
And it all escalates with devastating consequences.

In a Better World is a powerhouse, slow burning drama.

With evocative cutaways (either in Africa or Denmark), there's a real brooding intensity throughout - and while Persbrandt is good as Anton, the film belongs to the kids - William Jøhnk Nielsen as Christian and Markus Rygaard as Elias.

Both bring a real intensity to their brooding - Nielsen's particularly subtle in his role as a kid who's experienced loss and grief and doesn't know where to channel it.

Expect to become quickly engrossed in this drama - it's multi-layered, subtle and deeply rewarding. As the emotional tense pressure cooker boils up, you will be moved by the powerful punch it packs at the end.

And it will probably be clearing some space for Oscar very soon.

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