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big momma's house

Review- In a Better World, Unknown, Sanctum 3D and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

By Cinema and Reviews

I love it when a film raises the stakes. Done with wit, it can drag you back in to a film you might have been drift­ing away from. Done with smarts, like Susanne Bier’s Danish drama In a Better World, it can drag you to the edge of your seat.

About two-thirds in to the film there’s an event that forces a cent­ral char­ac­ter to con­front his own prin­ciples – val­ues he has been care­fully (and self­lessly) teach­ing his kids – and he has to ques­tion wheth­er those prin­ciples are really doing him any good in a world that refuses to hon­our them in return.

The char­ac­ter is Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a Swedish doc­tor work­ing in a sub-Saharan refugee camp where – in addi­tion to the usu­al lit­any of drought-related prob­lems – he’s patch­ing up preg­nant women bru­tal­ised by the loc­al war­lord. He’s troubled by the cir­cum­stances but smug about his role in the aid pro­cess. Perhaps he should be pay­ing more atten­tion to back home though, as his old­est son Elias (Markus Rygaard) is being bul­lied at school and taken under the wing of cold-eyed psy­cho­path Christian (bril­liant William Jøhnk Nielsen), griev­ing the can­cer death of his moth­er and tak­ing his quiet rage out on the world.

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