Movie Reviews

European Union Film Festival review: ‘In A Better World’

By Elly Nur SaadMovies - 15 May 2012 1:40 PM | Updated 1:45 PM

European Union Film Festival review: ‘In A Better World’

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Details: 15 May, 7pm

The Danish term ‘Hævnen’ means revenge. And that’s exactly what ‘In A Better World’ is about. The multi-award winning drama-thriller film was written and directed by renowned Danish filmmaker, Susanne Bier.

It was released in 2010 in Denmark but screened all over the world just last year. The film returned to our local cinema again on 10 May to commemorate the opening of the 22nd European Union Film Festival (which is an annual event organised worldwide to showcase Europe's diversity and creativity in filmmaking). 

The 113 minute long movie won the 68th Golden Globe Awards and the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

The plot revolves around two extremely contrasting Danish families whose lives cross paths in a much precarious manner.

Working as a doctor at a refugee camp in Africa, Anton juggles to meet the needs of his patients and the upbringing of his two young sons back home in Denmark. Anton and his family soon begin to face conflict that lead them to challenging choices between revenge and forgiveness.

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With Anton’s frequent work travels and being separated from his wife, we see a transformation of his two boys as they slowly get sucked into the black hole of violence and vengeance surrounding them.

Anton’s older son, Elias one day meets new-boy-in-school, Christian who bravely stands up for him against the school bully. As Elias submerges himself more and more in Christian’s companionship, the once timid boy finally begins to grow his own backbone. Christian’s company however may not be a fully beneficial factor for Elias as having recently lost his mother to cancer, causes the boy to turn violent.

The two kids quickly embark on dangerous and disastrous adventures with potentially tragic chain reactions which threaten their friendship and the lives of those around them. The climactic finale involves their parents who are forced to help them face the consequences and to learn the overwhelming complexities of pain, empathy and forgiveness.

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The cast of course, needless to say were superb in portraying the trials and tribulations of their individual character. Overall, the actors, together with the powerful and captivating plot of the film, had pretty much the effortless ability to tug on ones emotions and illustrate meaningful life-lessons all at the same time.

Director Susanne Bier said: "Our experiment in this film is about looking at how little it really takes before a child – or an adult – thinks something is deeply unjust. It really doesn't take much, and I find that profoundly interesting. And scary."

The 22nd European Union Film Festival happens from 11 to 20 May at Golden Village VivoCity. Tickets available from 26 Apr 2012 at Golden Village box offices nationwide and on is proud to be the official online partner for the 22nd European Union Film Festival