Sunday, January 15, 2012


Directed By: Susanne Bier
Written By: Anders Thomas Jensen
Cinematography By: Morton Soborg
Editor: Pernille Bach Christensen & Morton Egholm

Cast: Mikael Pensbrandt, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard, Trinie Dyrholm

Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Anton and his wife Marianne, who have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older, ten-year-old son Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, a new boy who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Christian's mother recently lost her battle with cancer, and Christian is greatly troubled by her death. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger. Ultimately, it is their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy.
If you have seen a Susanne Bier film. You know what you are in for Shaky hand held camera movements, Raw naked emotions on display. Shocking acts of sudden violence.
It’s a film that inspires you to want to be a better person. Here it is not too different. Just a film on a bigger worldwide scale. Her films seem to be alike and have the same things, but she manages to make each film different with it’s own identity. Like children in a family they each resemble one another and each have their own personality.

The actors are all good but I have to give the child actors in the film credit. They more then hold their own on screen against the adult actors. They keep you captivated as they are on screen for more then 60% of the film.

The film could be described as a dark coming of age tale. The film seems like it would be melodramatic, but manages to be alive with emotions in each scene. It’s glossy but feels realistic. It’s notan easy film to forget.

The film was nominated for Best Foreign film at the Oscars. Unfortunately it didn’t win but it did face heavy competition. I wanted to see the film in theaters, but it was out of them before I had a chance to see it, but I made sure soon as it arrived on dvd to get a copy. When it comes to Susanne Bier films they can be quite sad. They also make the audience react and question their own humanity of course the way I’m describing it makes it sound like misery porn.

I know this film will be attacked by people who don’t like it. They will call it a pumped up melodramatic after school special. This film is better written and filmed. It also explores it’s subjects and it’s characters more then any of those specials ever did.

I like that the dialogue is simple but the film really relies on emotions and reactions. That is where the action really comes into play.

This is like a emotional horror film. A raw emotional roller coaster ride. The films spins across two nations. It makes us question ourselves.

It’s a film where there is not really a wrong note except the ending seemed a little too Hollywood. The ending is too simple and uplifting. I didn’t want a downer ending as you grow close to all of the characters, But the ending that is here felt a bit false.

The film doesn’t fill in all the details of the situations or characters upfront. It leaves you to discover the information slowly and still doesn’t give you the full story. You can only go by what you can gather. No one is a saint. No one is a complete villain.

I was afraid that was how the film was going to be. Just like her others


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