Director: Susanne Bier
Screenwriters: Susanne Bier, Anders Thomas Jensen

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


In a tense and complex contemporary world, our moral footings can get slippery; who we are often depends on the circumstances tossed our way. The two brothers in Susanne Bier's stirring tour de force are faced with a trauma that profoundly transforms their relationship, their family, and their judgment between right and wrong.

Michael is upstanding and self-assured, with a successful military career and a beautiful wife and kids. His younger brother Jannik is an ex-convict who can't be trusted to hold down a job or even drive a car. Their respective roles as polarities of good and bad are entrenched in the family mythology. But that balance is upset forever when Michael is deployed to Afghanistan on a U.N. mission and his helicopter goes down. With Michael presumed dead, Jannik musters a latent maturity, looking after his sister-in-law and nieces during an excruciating time. Meanwhile, Michael is alive, but making it home will rearrange the very fiber of his being.

Bier's brilliance lies in her ability to maximize dramatic moments and expose the machinery of psychological change while lithely moving the story forward. The glowing lighting, saturated colors, and crisp photography that lingers on her characters' faces create an intimacy and a powerfully tactile sense of the physical world they inhabit—making their urgent emotional journeys all the more immediate to us.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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