FIND MOVIES
Movie List
Loading ...
or
Find Theaters and Movie Times
or
Search Movies

Review: In a Better World

In a better movie
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 14, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

Black-and-white issues get grayer in the 2010 Best Foreign Language Oscar winner, Susanne Bier’s In a Better World. Like her previous Brothers (also written by Anders Thomas Jensen), the film shows the links between the morally ambiguous enterprises of the West in Third World countries and similar quandaries back home.

In this case, Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a Danish doctor working in an African refugee camp, finds his pacifism challenged not just by the atrocities of a local warlord but by the abuse inflicted on his teenage son, Elias (Markus Rygaard), back home in Denmark. Since the family is originally Swedish, and Swedes are despised by the Danes (who knew?), Elias is a prime target for the school bully.

Instead of the pre-teen vampire living next door, as in Let the Right One In, it’s the cold-blooded new kid in school, the non-cheek-turning Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen), who becomes Elias’s defender. Christian’s philosophy of beating the shit out of the bad guys, or worse, conflicts with that of Elias’s dad, and both sides have a point. Which is lost in Bier’s treacly resolution involving hugs and pop psychology. Bier takes the seemingly irresolvable differences between the way the things should be and the way they are and reduces them to the reassuring platitudes found only in a movie world.

>> READ: Peter Keough's review of The Conspirator <<

  Topics: Reviews , Movies, Sweden, Denmark,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY PETER KEOUGH
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BUFFET DINING: THE 15TH BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 19, 2013
    "Copraphagy" is a key word at this year's Boston Underground Film Festival at the Brattle.
  •   REVIEW: GINGER & ROSA  |  March 19, 2013
    Sally Potter likes to mess around with form and narrative.
  •   UNDERGROUND CINEMA: THE 12TH BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 12, 2013
    This year's Boston Turkish Film Festival includes works in which directors ponder the relationships between the secular and the religious, between men and women, and between destiny and identity.
  •   REVIEW: A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III  |  March 12, 2013
    In Roman Coppola's sophomoric second feature (his 2001 debut CQ was promising), Charlie Sheen shows restraint as the titular asshole, a dissolute ad designer and solipsistic whiner who's mooning over the loss of his latest love.
  •   REVIEW: UPSIDE DOWN  |  March 14, 2013
    Had Ed Wood Jr. directed Fritz Lang's Metropolis , he couldn't have achieved the earnest dopiness of Juan Solanas's sci-fi allegory — nor the striking images.

 See all articles by: PETER KEOUGH