Loading...

In a Better World 

Thursday, Mar 31 2011
Comments
IN A BETTER WORLD If The King’s Speech was a comfy middlebrow choice for Best Picture of 2010, how much more depressing was the Academy’s squandering of its foreign-language film trophy on Susanne Bier’s In a Better World? Displaced tykes and bullies both macro and micro abound in this relentlessly pandering drama about a saintly Danish doctor (Mikael Persbrandt) who ministers to feuding Africans in a refugee camp while failing to notice that the suffering child (Markus Rygaard) of his broken marriage courts danger back home. Slick moralizing grows exponentially, as the plot — wrapped in travelogue photography, transparently expository dialogue and cheap thrills — drives home spurious parallels between the first and third worlds. Can’t we all get along? Bier surely means well, but the road to compassion porn is paved with noble intentions, laced with a nakedly commercial appeal that flatters moviegoers with a vision of the West as Africa’s savior from itself. Bier and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen began promisingly with the 2003 Dogma melodrama Open Hearts, but their collaborations grew ever soapier, as the mawkish Brothers (2004) and the truly dire After the Wedding (2006) attest. Watch for news of a three-picture deal for Bier, a rising star of the mush that cocoons the American-indie mainstream. (Ella Taylor) (Arclight Hollywood, Landmark, Playhouse, Town Center, Fallbrook)

Related Stories

Reach the writer at etaylor@laweekly.com

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Tue 22
  2. Wed 23
  3. Thu 24
  4. Fri 25
  5. Sat 26
  6. Sun 27
  7. Mon 28

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Slideshows

  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • Are Westerns For The Weak? Not According to "Sensei" Martin Kove
    Decades ago, the western film was king, with nearly 100 produced every year at their peak in the 1940s, and their popularity extending years beyond. But today, other than rare successes like Django Unchained or True Grit, the genre is not in great shape. Films such as Cowboys and Aliens and The Lone Ranger failed to spark new interests in the western. It's a tough nut to crack, but veteran movie bad guy Martin Kove -- most well known for his role as Sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid -- is passionate about the classic American film genre and is trying to revive it. We spent an afternoon at his home talking about westerns and how to make the genre interesting again. All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • Scenes from The Gallery of Film Poster Art at CSUN
    The Gallery of Film Poster Art at Cal State Northridge is the country's only permanent university exhibit dedicated to the art of the movie poster. The gallery houses rare and international film posters from the collection of Steve Olson, whose business card reads "Buyer of Investment Properties -- Collector of Rare Movie & Art Posters." John Schultheiss, Professor of Cinema and Television Arts at CSUN as well as the curator of the poster gallery, says he's heard from visitors that it's the best-kept secret in L.A. CSUN doesn't advertise the gallery so people have to stumble across it or hear of it somehow. Schultheiss hopes that people will begin to associate CSUN with something particularly important and special after visiting the gallery. All original photos by Jared Cowan.

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending