IN A BETTER WORLD is the English title of that 2010 Danish film by Susanne Bier, which won that 2011 Oscar for best … what do they call it at that film academy over the pond?…. alien, abroad, non-US, outlandish?? utländiskt film.
HÄMNDEN is the Swedish name, and it means revenge. Nothing less.
Swedish physician Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), who lives with his wife (Trine Dyrholm) in Denmark, shows to his young sons that he is able to literally turn the other cheek to a Danish guy who doesn’t like Swedes. Anton gets slapped in the face and does not fight back, he seeks contact instead, and he gets slapped again. He simply retreats and tries to tell his sons that he did not descend to his adversary’s level, that he braved out an idiot’s attack without letting things escalate. The sons see it quite differently, and one – with the help of his rather disturbed school friend – even hatches an evil plan to avenge his father.
Maybe that English title was chosen because in the beautiful, orderly world of Scandinavia the intelligent, non-violent approach works, and it works well. It’s quite a different thing in Africa though, where Anton works as a Doctor in a fugitive’s camp. There it’s not about slapping people, it’s about killing them … will he still turn the other cheek?
Gripping cinematography, great score by Johan Söderquist , an exquisite cast including the very young actors, and a hell of a story.
links to infos in Swedish: