July 27, 2011

In a better world (Denmark 2010)

Susanne Bier's "In a better world" has some very powerful emotional moments. The actors are - as in all of her films - very natural and the story, which touches some serious issues, is challenging enough. Yet as a whole the film feels a little overblown and too melodramatic - as it is often the case with films that feature multiple dramas at once. It is also way more constructed than Susanne Bier's raw and intimate early films which may be precisely why the Academy voters went for it and awarded the film with the "Best Foreign Language Film" oscar. Indeed it brings to mind "Babel" more than the Dogme 95 films where Susanne Bier has her roots. The mass audience may appreciate it but what her films gained in scope they lost in sublety along the way.

A film needs a strong beginning and especially a strong ending. "In a better world" has neither but instead a very strong middle section which shows the great potential the film would have had. Nevertheless it is still a decent film and one that confirms Susanne Bier as one of the most important European directors.


Just like heaven: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm

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