Wednesday, 8 June 2011

In a Better World / Haevnen

Susan Bier


                                                 Directed by / Direkte ved Susanne Bier

The Danish title “Haevnen” means revenge. Director’s latest film is a powerful and emotionally touching human drama about how to deal with bullies and is revenge ever justified.
Christian is the new kid in school. His father, Claus, has just moved from London to this idyllic Danish coastal town. Christian and Claus are having difficulty in coping with the recent death of their mother/wife due to cancer.
When Christian is introduced to the class, the teacher has him sit beside Elias, a mild-mannered boy who is frequently bullied. His parents, Anton and Marianne are separated and he has a younger brother. Anton is a Swedish doctor who treats victims of a sadistic war lord in a Sudanese refugee camp. Most of the victims are women.
After school, Christian and Elias walk together. Elias notices that his bicycle tires have been deflated. Christian begins to do the same with the other bikes. The school bully shows up and begins to threaten both Elias and Christian. This subsequently leads to the bully being hospitalised. Christian hit him with a bicycle pump and also threatened with a knife. Christian gives the knife to Elias, who hides it. Both boys lie to the police about the incident.
One day the war lord arrives at the refugee camp and demands that he be treated for his wounded leg. Anton is faced with a dilemma: Does he agree to treat him and under what conditions?
At home in Denmark, Anton is in the park with his two sons and Christian. His younger son gets into a scuffle with another boy and Anton attempts to break it up. The other boy’s father, who is a mechanic, slaps Anton in the face and tells him not to touch his son.
Both Elias and Christian are upset by Anton’s refusal to take action against the mechanic. They actually feel embarrassed. Christian talks Elias into taking revenge by bombing the mechanic’s vehicle. When they take cover, Elias notices two joggers approaching. Elias runs to warn them. The joggers are saved from harm but Elias ends up unconscious. When Christian tries to visit Elias in the hospital, Marianne (Elias’s mother) refuses to let him in saying that he is a murderer.
Distraught, Christian goes to a rooftop, desiring to jump, but Elias’s father rescues him.
A powerful film that shows how revenge can exact a heavy cost and that it is often more prudent to just let things go.