Susanne Bier is a prominent Danish film maker and one of the finest screen directors in the contemporary film world. Her 2002 film Open Hearts (Elsker Dig For Evigt) is recognised internationally as one of the most acclaimed productions borne out of Lar Von Trier’s Dogme manifesto. Her 2004 film, Brothers (Brødre) did not appeal so much –but still it over shadows the abominable hollywood remake starring heart–throb sensations Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire.
However, Bier orchestrated a brilliant return to form in her 2006 searing family meltdown After The Wedding (Efter Brylluppet); certainly her best after Open Hearts. Important to note is that both of these films featured the amazing Mads Mikkelsen.
That said, Bier‘s latest offering fails to out–shine even Brothers. Although it is easily a great piece of cinema, In A Better World (Haeven) was an utter disappointment, somewhat due to the fact that her film–making in such high regard. The characters were under–developed and at times their personalities vague and inconsistent. The empathy clearly sought for the characters failed to emote. It lacked the somewhat subdued elements of (although brash) realism; in the face of so much hyper–realism amid the genre. Add to this a repetitive score and casual shots in poor lighting (a feeble nod to Dogme?), and you‘re barely content. Come the closing shot and I was glad to be alone in the cinema as I was shouting aloud at the recklessness of such a cheesy and unbelieveable closing scene.