Film

Danish dilemmas

OUT NOW! HAEVNEN asks hard questions about whether to avenge or forgive with skill and depth.

In a better world, everything is harmonious. But in the world we live in, we’re constantly faced with dilemmas and choices. For example, when should you avenge a deed and when should you forgive it?

The world, as Danish director Susanne Bier presents it, is full of situations where the characters stumble on the fine line between justifiable revenge and forgiveness. What should Anton (Persbrandt) do as a doctor in Africa when faced with the choice between saving the cruel guerilla leader’s life, as a physician should, or refusing to help him to avenge the thousands of lives he’s slaughtered?

Back in Denmark his family is falling apart. His son is bullied in school and getting into a dangerous game with the new boy. He himself is struggling with the recent loss of his mother and a father who is unable to penetrate the armor his son wears to cope with this loss. With characters who walk a constant tightrope, Haevnen inevitably creates a dark lump in your stomach and makes you desperately hope for everything to turn out alright.

In the middle of all the visual beauty and haunting scenes (Bier highlights Danish summer at its very best), the cast performs like it’s the last thing they’ll ever do.

HAEVNEN (IN EINER BESSEREN WELT) | Directed by Susanne Bier (Denmark 2010) with Trine Dyrholm, Mikael Persbrandt. Opens March 17