When faced with certain death or survival, how far would you go for survival. Susanne Bier presents the impossible alternatives, in this award winning and searing post-traumatic stress meltdown of a movie. Michael (Ulrich Thomsen) is lost in the skies of Afghanistan, and pronounced dead. Rather too quickly and conveniently, in order to move the story along. This is one of a few flaws that mar the movie, but do it no irreparable harm. As life goes on without Michael, his family embraces his brother, again rather too quickly and conveniently.
Eventually, Michael is rescued after having survived captivity – but only after committing a horrible act. The guilt follows him back toi civilian life, to his family (his wife, two daughters and his brother). Back in civilization, the ‘good’ brother has become the troubled one, and the troubled brother has grown up a lot while Michael has been away.
Michael’s wife, Sarah (Connie Nielsen) copes with her damaged husband as best she can, but when unable to break through to him (he has shut down), she has no alternative but to force the issue herself. His loving daughters want nothing more to do with this damaged man. The man who went away to war, did not come back. That man rarely does, though children cannot understand that.
Supported by wonderful ensemble performances, Bier lays bare the heavy burden of sacrifice, and blots out the blurred line between honor and dishonor.