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In a Better World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm
  • Directors: Susanne Bier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Danish
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004G8QO7U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,618 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In a Better World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)" on IMDb

Special Features

Interview with Director Susanne Bier

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A provocative film that explores the difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness, In a Better World follows two Danish families and the unusual and dangerous friendship that develops between them. Bullied at school, Elias is defended by Christian, a boy greatly troubled over his mother’s death. So when the two become involved in an act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, it’s their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy in this 2010 Academy Award® and Golden Globe® winner for Best Foreign Film.

Amazon.com

When In a Better World took the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for 2010, it counted as a mild upset… but only because the movie hadn't opened in the United States yet. Anybody who actually sees the film won't be at all surprised at its acclaim, and this emotional powerhouse is nothing if not exactly the kind of movie that wins Oscars. The subject is ambitious: how eye-for-an-eye violence takes root, whether the setting is a Danish neighborhood or global politics. Two bullied boys (a cowering Markus Rygaard and a furious William Jøhnk Nielsen) are not only fed up with a violent tormentor at school, they're also disgusted with an adult blowhard, whose size does not intimidate them. The father (an excellent Mikael Pesrbrandt) of the weaker boy has tried to set an example by turning the other cheek toward the local creep, a virtue he has perfected after completing his regular medical service in a chaotic African country ruled by warlords who carry out appalling atrocities and then expect medical treatment themselves. Meanwhile, the doctor's estranged wife (Trine Dyrholm) resists his attempts at reconciliation, while getting to know the other boy's distracted father (Ulrich Thomsen). Director Susanne Bier (Brothers) and the amazingly prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen are serious and accomplished; this film is rendered with great care and each new strand of the plot is thought out and carefully placed. Maybe, if anything, slightly too carefully placed--the story is so neatly plotted and balanced it comes close to being a closed system, a piece to admire if not to get greatly excited by. Still, this kind of old-school humanistic approach is welcome, and the film is skillfully made. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is an extremely effective film that is well written and acted.
M. Oleson
He and Marianne are separated because of Anton's indiscretion and their children are torn between life with their mother and their too distant but very loving father.
Grady Harp
It is rather unfocused and despite being well written, seems to jump all over the place a bit.
Renfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Howard Schumann on April 21, 2011
Can revenge ever be justified or does violence simply lead to an ever-widening cycle of more violence? Should we use reason to confront an opponent or does turning the other cheek only make the problem worse? There are no easy answers in Suzanne Bier's In a Better World, winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film at the 2011 Oscars. It is a thought-provoking film about several subjects: bullying and how best to respond, parents who are too involved with their own problems to reach out to their children, and how the seeds of anger need to be addressed before they are acted out.

Written by Anders Thomas Jensen, In a Better World, whose Danish title is translated as "Revenge", begins on a dusty landscape in an unnamed African country as young children run after the car of Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a volunteer doctor at a refugee camp. Violence rears its ugly head almost immediately as we see a young pregnant woman wheeled into the camp, the victim of mutilation by a tribal warlord. Later, Anton has to face a moral dilemma when he must confront the opposition of his nurses and assistants and decide whether or not to treat the badly wounded tribal leader responsible for the death and mutilation of so many women.

The scene then shifts back home in Denmark to a parallel incident (though obviously not on the same scale) where the doctor's pre-teen son, Elias (Markus Rygaard) is bullied by bigger students who call him "rat face" because he wears braces. The bullying is witnessed by a new boy, Christian (William Jøhnk Nielsen), who has just moved from London and who is still feeling the anger over his mother's recent death from cancer and his father's perceived indifference.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 28, 2011
I saw "In a Better World" --- this year's winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film --- in a theater with a dozen people.

This was in cosmopolitan New York.

The evening show on a weekday night.

Depressing.

Even more depressing when you consider that the director --- Susanne Bier --- is also the director of After the Wedding, an exceptional movie that was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2007. (It lost to the German entry, "The Lives of Others.")

I don't rank film directors by the awards they get --- when I say that Ms. Bier is one of the greatest filmmakers on the planet, it's because that's what I really think. My reasons? Her movies are strong melodramas. Her actors are not beautiful in the way movie stars are beautiful --- no Botox, no surgery. The dialogue in her movies doesn't show off a screenwriter's cleverness. She doesn't telegraph the emotions she wants you to feel with music.

No wonder "In a Better World" has grossed just $230,000 in the United States.

If you stand outside a theater showing "In a Better World" and other movies and watch people leaving, you can easily identify who saw the Bier film --- they're the people who are silent. Slack-jawed. Maybe even weeping.

How is a Bier film different from a movie we all liked --- "The King's Speech," for example? Ah, that's the thing. There's no comparison. "The King's Speech" is entertainment: a formula movie, a buddy film. It's "Rocky" --- only here the underdog is the King of England. And the moral? You've heard it a zillion times: You can make it if you try.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on May 9, 2011
Since the days of Louis Malle's Au revoir les enfants in 1987, I had not watched such powerful film in which the leading voice would have been carried by two children.

The artistic greatness of the film resides in what concerns its multidimensional messsage. It deals with the enormous risk of leaving the children free with his own demons, on the other side the visible lack of communication between parents and sons, and the stubborness remarked over and over about the unerring ethic agaisnt the adversary so disturbing in the case of Elias' father, faced agaisnt the moral dilemma of saving the life of the nasty killer of the village or the infinite patience when deals with the mechanic.

Prized with the Golden Globe and The Academy as Best Foreign Film, the movie is beatifully filmed with towering performances, although we should make special mention about Christian, the driving force of the drama.

Denmark, once more returns for saying present (after its glorious golden decade with Babette's feast and Pelle the Conqueror and then with extraordinary films from the enigmatic and creative director Lars von Triers, such as Zentropa -one of my top ten films of the Nineties- Breaking the waves or Dogville) and Celebration.

A must-see.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on October 11, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
There is no denying the message brought out in `In a Better World'. Susanne Bier (god, I love her) has a way of working with situations and actors to create such visceral chemistry. I've seen all of her works, and while `In a Better World' is far from her strongest (just watch `After the Wedding' and tell me it isn't one of the single greatest cinematic achievements of the past decade...I dare you) it still carries her trademark aura.

`In a Better World' explores a different theme for Bier. Here she tackles violence, its root and the steady escalation of untreated anger. It is within this theme, and the overall construction of its elements, that the film falters for me. While I find it more compelling than the lauded `A History of Violence', it doesn't quite capture the unsettling realities of violence that any one of Michael Haneke's masterpieces has done (especially `Cache'). Instead, `In a Better World' is a little too calculated for its own good. I actually loved the assessment given by the sites reviewer, Robert Horton. He states "this film is rendered with great care and each new strand of the plot is thought out and carefully placed...maybe, if anything, slightly too carefully placed--the story is so neatly plotted and balanced it comes close to being a closed system", and I concur with this sentiment. The film is so obvious in its construction that the eventualities bare less impact than they would if there was that element of surprise, and that element is a big one when considering violence as an act. Violence is often senseless and careless and unwarranted, and while this film touches on those areas (school bullies, ruthless warlords) it doesn't allow that energy to seep into the skin of the picture.
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