Director: Susanne Bier
Country of origin: Denmark
Back home in Denmark, filmmaker Susanne Bier kept critics enthralled from 2002 through 2006 with a trio of raw, compelling, character-powered dramas, most notably the 2004 film Brothers, which was remade (with Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, and Tobey Maguire) stateside in 2009, with the same title. So, naturally, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood studios recruited her to enhance their own small-scale, intimate movies. If only she'd been given material that was worth her energy.
Not that she's entirely without fault when it comes to the well-intentioned but formulaic 2007 flick Things We Lost in the Fire. Helped by efficient performances from stars Halle Berry and Benicio del Toro, Bier's English-language debut generates as much emotion as it can from the acting before, ironically, buckling under the script's weightlessness. Heavy-handed when it needs to be subtly evocative, Things We Lost in the Fire, as an ineffective whole, squanders its best pieces, namely Ms. Bier.