Susanne Bier
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, United kingdom
Susanne Bier / Anders Thomas Jensen
Connie Nielsen / Ulrich Thomsen / Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Zentropa Entertainmen Denmark / Fjellape Film AS Norway / Memfis Film Sweden /Sigma Films United Kingdom


A Danish officer, Michael (Thomsen), is sent to the International Security Assistance Force operation in Afghanistan for three months. His first mission there is to find a young radar technician who had been separated from his squad some days earlier. While on the search, his helicopter is shot down and he is taken as a prisoner of war, but is reported dead to the family.

His wife Sarah (Nielsen) and younger brother Jannik (Kaas) both deeply mourn him, and that brings them closer together. They kiss once, but pass it off as the grief and do not pursue the relationship.

Meanwhile, both the officer and a young technician are locked up in a warehouse, kept without food or water. After Michael shows them how to arm and disarm an anti-aircraft missile, his captors decide the technician is no longer useful and have Michael bludgeon him to death with a lead pipe in order to save his own life. Eventually he is rescued and brought back to Denmark. The guilt of what he did forces him to lie and provide false hope that the technician may still be alive.

Michael becomes unstable, spiraling down into a pit of guilt and rage, and begins to threaten and abuse his wife and tear the house apart. It finally becomes necessary for the police to intervene. Michael overreacts, pointing a policeman's pistol at the officers. With Michael in custody, Jannik helps Sarah to begin the repairs to the house.

In the car, Sarah passes a sign reading "Statsfængslet" (National Prison). Her visit to Michael in prison finally forces him to admit the truth about Afghanistan.

Festivals & Academy awards and others

Dominican Global Film Festival 2005
Best Film
Sundance Film Festival 2005
The World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award
Sydney Film Festival 2005
Audience Award
Wisconsin Film Festival 2005
Audience Award - Best International Film
Hamburg FilmFest GmbH 2004
Critic's Prize

San Sebastian International Film Festival Awards 2004
Silver Concha, Best Actress (Connie Nielsen)
Silver Concha, Best Actor (Ulrich Thomsen)
Other Awards:
-Buenos Aires, Mar Del Plata Int. FF 2005: Special Mention
-Skip City International D-Cinema Festival 2005: Grand Prize


Denmark (27 of August 2004)