In a Better World

In_a_better_world

The Danish film In a Better World caught me by surprise. Compelling and intense, it weaves together the stories of Anton, a doctor who works for an NGO like Doctors without Borders in Africa and his family in Denmark and Christian, a boy who moves to Denmark after his mother dies. Anton’s son Elias is a victim of bullying until Christian defends him. The two boys become friends, but Elias is troubled by Christian’s violent streak. Christian believes might makes right and takes pleasure in revenge and plotting. He doesn’t know when to stop or that the unexpected can make a plot go awry in terrible ways.

Anton lives part of the year in Denmark, where he tries to reconcile with his wife Marianne, and part of the year in war-torn Africa where women are sliced open by a Chieftain called Big Man. Anton is a highly ethical man who tries to live non-violently and to teach his son the same.

Lonely and fascinated by Christian, Elias is too weak to refuse and stop his friend from his escalating violence. The film depicts the consequences of missing fathers.

 

I liked the film’s tone and the opportunity to travel to two new settings, Africa and Denmark. Roger Ebert criticized the film for cutting between the two cultures of Africa and Denmark, however, as someone who splits her time between cultures I found no problem with that choice.

One Tree Hill, Season 4, 5

I finished watching the finale of season 4 of One Tree Hill. It’s been a high-octane season and I felt it was wise to have the characters’ senior year run across two seasons. That decision allows the writers to create more stories and postpone the problems of a post-high school year on a show that is set in high school. I did think the three prom related shows got tiresome and the actual prom had too much violence for my taste. I really did not need to witness Peyton get attacked again by her stalker.

As usual for One Tree Hill, the finale ends with a bang, a cliffhanger with plenty of adrenaline so I wanted to see how season 5 began. Well, I turned to Netflix to stream the season 5 premiere and was disappointed to discover that it’s unavailable. I put the DVD in my queue, but I’m miffed that it’s not available for streaming.

Thoughts on Season 4:

  • Deb has become too much of a caricature and joke. She’s also disappeared. It seems they don’t know what to do with her.
  • I’m glad Peyton and Lucas are together.
  • It took too long for Dan to be revealed to at least one main character as Keith’s murderer.
  • The Clean Teen storyline was interesting, but could have been better. They didn’t need dorky T-shirts. Too bad Glee preceded this show as I think these writers could learn from Ryan Murphy, especially if he does get a Christian character in this season, on how to handle such characters with complexity and respect, which is so much more interesting.
  • Why hasn’t Brooke taken responsibility yet for the cheating. That she’s let Rachel get expelled is deplorable, but she doesn’t completely see that yet.
  • I see from Netflix that the show will jump from senior year to post-college. While I understand how that allows the writers to keep all the characters in the same city, which wouldn’t happen in a small North Carolina town with no college, I do feel cheated. My friend Sally who gave me four seasons of DVDs with the idea of hooking me, has found the post high school seasons lacking. I’ve caught just one or two episodes of season 8 this summer and boy, is Haley and Nathan’s son poorly written. What an obnoxious brat. Clearly, a child who gets too much attention.
  • i do like that the show is edgier than most young adult programming, but I also am so aware that these actors are 25 not 18.
  • I continue to find the absence of adults just weird. Were we really supposed to buy that Mouth would get away with not calling his parents when he was imprisioned in Texas? Now that episode was an example of how the audience is often asked to buy a very far fetched set up, to enjoy the humorous pay off of the whole gang crashing a small town Texas prom in funky 70s dress. I do think One Tree Hill asks a lot of its audience and wonder if it isn’t too much and sort of an affront since they know their viewers are teens.