There’s a lot to like in Susanne Bier’s melodrama including marvellous performances and Connie Nielsen (apologies but she is just stunning to look at). The film appears to be about the relationship between two brothers: the solid and successful Michael (Ulrich Thomsen – above) and the failure Jannik. However, after Michael goes missing, presumed dead, in Afghanistan Jannik steps up to help his previously estranged sister-in-law.
I don’t want to spoil the contrived narrative (that’s not a criticism as this is melodrama) but it did strike me that the Nielsen’s Sarah was the key character in the film as she has to deal with the fall-out of her husband’s disappearance; they have two small children. She doesn’t move to centre stage until quite a way into the film and so it seems to change direction as it looks initially to be about, as indicated by the title, the men.
As in In a Better World (2010) Bier excels in engaging the audience deeply into the emotional situation; though I found the later film to be superior. Possibly this is because of the film’s uncertain focus: is it dealing with brotherly love or the emotional turmoil of losing someone close MIA? Regardless, the film is certainly well worth seeing.