Danish schoolboy Elias (Rygaard) is a vulnerable kid who's the target of the school bully, until he meets new student Christian (Nielsen), a cauldron of anger who metes out revenge on Elias's attacker. Both boys have Daddy issues: Elias's gentle but flawed father Anton (Persbrandt), a physician working mainly in Africa, is away too much, and his marriage has crumbled. Meanwhile, Christian blames his father, to whom he was never close, for letting his beloved mother die of cancer. One day during a brief visit home, Anton breaks up a fight between two boys, and one kid's father angrily slaps the good doctor in front of Elias and Christian. In response, Anton turns the other cheek. Furious, the boys plot to teach the offending brute a lesson on their own — but are they getting in over their heads?
A thought-provoking examination of the ethics of nonviolence in the face of sociopathic evil and rage, "Better World" is a moving tale of the often messy, tortured relations between otherwise loving fathers and sons. Beautifully directed by the acclaimed Bier, the film is also impeccably acted. Persbrandt in particular projects an aching sense of melancholy and regret, while the fresh-faced Rygaard and Nielsen both turn in nuanced, natural performances. Though dismissed by some critics, this engrossing thriller managed to win best foreign language film at both the Oscars and Golden Globes. Do yourself a world of good and check it out!