In a Better World (Hævnen) deals with many familiar cinematic themes — violence, revenge, divorce, grief — but it approaches them in a manner unlike what one comes to expect from an American film. Christian and Elias are 10-year-old boys brought together by being bullied at school and by their difficult family situations. Christian, the new kid, has just lost his mother to cancer and has turned his anger at his father. Elias’ parents have separated, but are still jointly involved in his upbringing. Elias’ father, Anton, is a doctor who regularly flies off to Africa to work in a refugee camp in an area that is being terrorized by a cruel warlord. Christian decides to teach the bully a lesson by bashing him brutally with a bicycle pump. When I saw In a Better World, some people in the audience cheered at this scene. Not so fast. Anton tries to teach the boys about pacifism, but it doesn’t take and Christian, with Elias trailing along, plots another act of revenge, this time against an adult bully. It may sound like director Susanne Bier and writer Anders Thomas Jensen are setting us up for a simple battle between revenge and forgiveness, but when Anton is forced to treat the awful warlord, his moral dilemma seems more like real life.