Blu-ray: IN A BETTER WORLD (2011)
This Blu-ray looks amazing. Sony's AVC encoded 1080p transfer is as flawless as you can get. The colors are vibrant and evocative. Toward the end of the film the picture takes on a warm glow, which is fitting in context. There isn't a single digital anomaly due to compression anywhere to be seen. Details are crisp. Even dust kicked up by trucks in the African sequences have nuance. Beautiful is the most fitting way to describe the picture quality. Cinematographer Morten Søborg should be enthralled with the way his film looks.
The DTS High Definition Master Audio soundtrack creates a great ambiance for every scene. The packed African clinic. The roar of the warlord's trucks entering the camp. A car explosion booms the LFE track. Directionality is used well across all the speakers. Dialogue is clear and the subtitles are easy to read. The soundtrack really matches the first rate picture quality.
As for the special features they include deleted scenes, commentary from director Susanne Bier and editor Pernille Bech Christensen and an interview with Bier.
The deleted scenes are fascinating. At two hours, time must have been a factor in their removal for many seem has transitions that could have helped the narrative. This is especially the case with Christian and his reaction to his father's relationship with Elias' mother. There is one scene where Anton defends his non-violence principles to his estranged wife that I felt had some great elements, but understand that it was let go because other scenes handle the same information in subtler ways.
The sit-down interview with Bier provides some nice details about how the idea for the film came to be. She talks in depth in both the interview and commentary about wanting to bring hope back to European cinema. The production of the interview is really awkward though. The makers seem to have wanted to avoid having Bier in a simple talking head situation so they cut in shots of the interviewer giving really forced reactions to what she is saying. I actually laughed once when they cut to him. Bier's comments are worth watching despite the terrible editing and framing.
In the commentary, Bier and Christensen go into a nice amount of depth on the problems of filming in both Denmark and Africa. What comes out in the commentary is that Bier has more of an American sensibility than filmmakers like Michael Haneke or Lars von Trier. The stories about the choices and compromises they made make for a satisfying look at the making of the film.