Danish army major Michael (Thomsen) has everything under control. He's thoughtful, a loving husband to his wife Sarah (Nielsen) and fair-minded dad to his two girls.
However, younger brother Jannik (Kaas) is everything he's not. An irresponsible drifter, he's happy to spend his time propping up the bar of the nearest pub.
But blood is thicker than water and Michael is there for him when he's released from prison after serving time for a brutal armed robbery.
True to form, Michael tells him that he's spoken to the woman injured in the raid and promised her his brother will visit to apologise.
This well-meaning act puts further strain on the relationship…but they bury their differences for the first, awkward, family dinner for years.
Then the dynamic dramatically shifts when Michael is despatched on a UN peacekeeping mission into the Afghan mountains and his helicopter is shot down by guerrillas.
The black sheep of the family is forced to become the white knight and, and almost unwittingly, Jannick is shouldering responsibility for Sarah and the girls.
Director Susanne Bier has exquisitely assembled a minutely-observed family drama without recourse to grand gestures or duff emotional notes.
Drawing on the dogme style but without being smothered by its conventions, every development - both character and plotwise - is handled with a touch of truth.
The raw grief of the father's death is almost tangible while the bond between Sarah and Jannik blossoms through rueful glances and emotional need.
The dramatic climax is searingly believable and a fitting end to a beautifully realised story of ordinary people living through extraordinary events.