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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hævnen (In a better world) by Susanne Bier, 2010

with Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard, William Jøhnk Nielsen, Bodil Jørgensen, Elsebeth Steentoft, Anette Støvelbæk, Kim Bodnia, Martin Buch

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.

The movie is excellent, impeccable in all aspect, from the acting, kids and adults, to the cinematography that reflect two different environments with so much connectivity to them, to the dialogues: powerful, right on and unexpected. The movie has this awareness of the world that surprisingly, the wise characters do not use to lecture. Another very interesting point is the conflict that is underlying between Danish and Swedish and the revealing of what is to be a doctor on a humanitarian mission, with all the interior conflicts about that is good and what is fair, but most importantly, the captivating and scary rising of violence and the almost impossible mission to shut it off. An optimistic film after all, but with a major doubt subsisting on how long this will last...


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