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In a Better World

Hævnen

Directed by Susanne Bier

Denmark, 2010

Cornerhouse, 28 August 2011

In a Better World

Yes, Bier’s film is certainly worthy of its Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film; and it is a very worthy effort overall.

The question raised is how you should respond to violence, whether in the form of a bully or a gangster.  It is a theme that many films have tackled in the past, notably Shane.  Do you turn the other cheek ?  What about responding in kind, even though it risks an escalating exchange of blows?  Then there is the firm and measured approach.   That the film offers no easy answers almost makes it an intelligent film by definition; there aren’t any.

Even among the many fine performances, Mikael Persbrandt as Anton, a doctor steadfastly committed to the Hippocratic oath, and William Johnk Nielsen as Christian, an adolescent disturbed by the recent death of his mother, stood out.  And there was an excellent performance also by Wil Johnson, the guy who plays the especially pernickety police officer in Waking the Dead.

A solid and satisfying film.

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