Highly recommended meditation on violence from Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier. Won the 2011 Best Foreign Film Oscar.
The movie unfolds in both Denmark and an unnamed African country, where in each we see the effects and limitations of both violence and non-violence. Anton (Mikael Persbrandt, who looks a lot like Michael Keaton and sounds just like Hans Gruber) is a recently-separated doctor who spends periods of times in Africa treating villagers, many of whom have fallen victim to the violence of a sadistic local warlord. Back in Denmark, his son, Elias (Markus Rygaard), is a bullied grade-schooler. Elias soon befriends a new boy at his school, the angry Christian (William Johnk Neilsen), who has recently moved to Denmark from London following the death of his mother. Christian shows Elias how to fight back against the bullies, and before long Christian enlists Elias in escalatingly malicious acts against those they feel have wronged them. At the same time, Anton finds himself dealing with a situation in Africa involving the warlord that tests his steady moral compass, and threatens to throw it way off kilter.
There are some worthy side-stories going on as well, but that’s it in a nutshell and without giving too much away. Very good. Asks some difficult questions about violence as a solution and provides some harsh answers. Definitely fairly heavy stuff, and a pretty sad, emotion-evoking movie in general, but a very well done one. The entire cast is great, especially the 3 mentioned above, including Rygaard and Neilsen who are both pretty young. Amazing cinematography- some beautiful shots.
4 out of 5 stars