sat 22/06/2024

DVD: In a Better World | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: In a Better World

DVD: In a Better World

Yet another gripping Danish drama

Boys will be boys: Markus Rygaard and William Jøhnk Nielsen in 'In a Better World'

What is it about Denmark? What, specifically, is it about Danish drama? I am currently fourth in the queue to borrow a box set of The Killing ( I know, I know: late), which all experts advise is as lethal as crack and to which Jennifer Saunders lately paid hilarious homage in Absolutely Fabulous.

Borgen has just started trafficking across our screens, and last autumn there was the piercingly good low-budget film The Silence, partly German but also robustly Danish in its aesthetics and ethics. And now there’s In a Better World, best film at last year’s European Film Academy. And deservedly.

It is a powerful work which feels distinctly Scandinavian, as much for its maritime colour scheme as its peacenik value system. It tells of a surgeon (Mikael Persbrandt) sewing up victims of ethnic atrocities in a brutal African conflict who finds it hard to impose his own moral code back home on the Danish seaboard. Here he is estranged from his wife (Trine Dyrholm) and his son (Markus Rygaard) who, bullied at school, has taken up with a boy hardened by the death of his mother and eager in his grief to punish the world - specifically a school bully. The father argues that violence begets only violence, but when he goes out of his way to turn the other cheek to a thuggish garage mechanic, his son’s friend – ironically named Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen) – decides to prove that vengeance is a viable option.

Susanne Bier directs a cast who, adult and child alike, know how to communicate trauma and shattering doubt through the lens. Anders Thomas Jensen’s script migrates between East Africa and northern Europe - both of which shimmer in different kinds of sunlight - but never strays from the remorseless theme.

Watch the trailer to In a Better World

It is a powerful work which feels distinctly Scandinavian, as much for its maritime colour scheme as its peacenik value system


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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