In a Better World

Rated R 113 minutes 2010

Danish writer-director Susanne Bier (Brothers, After the Wedding) is rightly respected for her pointed ethical dramas, though sometimes they can be a little too pointed. That's pretty much the case with this 2010 feature, an Oscar winner for best foreign film: it contemplates the problem of evil and the limits of pacifism so baldly that I began to wonder if there would be a catechism afterward. The pivotal character is a compassionate doctor who divides his time between a small Danish town, where his son is trying to figure out how to handle a school bully, and an African refugee camp, whose inhabitants are being terrorized by a merciless warlord. Scenes involving the doctor's crumbling relationship with his wife appear to have been inserted mainly as a diversion from the diagrammatic premise. I hate to rap this serious-minded filmmaker, but I'm beginning to wonder whether her scripts aren't better realized when they're held in check, whether by Hollywood star power (Things We Lost in the Fire) or by the hand of another director (Open Hearts).(119 min.)

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Susanne Bier

Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard, William Nielsen, Bodil Jorgensen, Elsebeth Steentoft, Martin Buch, Anette Stovlebaek and Kim Bodnia


In a Better World

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