Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Two Danish schoolchildren -- one meek and unassertive, the other angry and vengeance-prone -- forge a friendship with ugly consequences in this cautionary tale from director Susanne Bier. The story opens with physician Anton (Mikael Persbrandt, working abroad in a Kenyan hospital, where he's routinely treating female victims of a psychotic thug known as Big Man (Evans Muthini). Anton himself suffers from a dysfunctional home life, given his emotional estrangement from his wife (Trine Dyrholm), and his desire to set a positive example for son Elias (Markus Rygaard) -- the physician longs to mend both relationships but finds this difficult given his frequent absenteeism. Meanwhile, another family suffers from equally grave issues: Claus (Ulrich Thomsen) and his son, Christian (William Jøhnk Juels Nielsen), move from London back to their home country of Denmark; Claus is still reeling from his late wife's recent death from cancer, and father and son find it more and more difficult to connect with another. But Christian has much deeper issues than simple filial alienation -- an almost pathological addiction to retribution that manifests itself in a knife-wielding attempt to protect new friend Elias from a local bully. Elias and Christian become fast companions, but as they do, it draws out a level of rage in both boys that threatens to culminate in shocking, terroristic levels of violence.
Danish [nationality], friendship, Kenya, pacifism, refugee-camp, revenge, schoolchildren