Better Man

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  • 2013
  • 1 Season
  • 7.7  (232)

Better Man is a compelling and emotional Australian drama series that originally aired on SBS in 2013. Based on a true story, the series follows the struggles of Van Nguyen, a young man from Melbourne who became embroiled in a drug trafficking operation in Singapore and was subsequently sentenced to death by hanging.

The series stars Remy Hii as Van Nguyen, who delivers an impressive and deeply affecting performance as the protagonist. Hii portrays Van as a sympathetic and relatable character, capturing his innocence, desperation, and determination to survive against all odds. Joining Hii in the primary cast are Jordan Rodrigues as Khoa, Van’s younger brother who becomes involved in the drug ring; Hien Nguyen as Kim, Van’s mother who fights tirelessly to save her son’s life; and David Field as Lex Lasry, a human rights lawyer who takes on Van's case.

The show employs an episodic format, with each episode focusing on a different aspect of Van’s story. The first episode sets the scene, introducing Van, Khoa and their mother Kim as a loving family living in Melbourne. However, their lives take a dramatic turn when Van accepts an offer to traffic drugs from a friend in exchange for money to help his family. The subsequent episodes cover Van’s arrest, trial, and imprisonment in Singapore, as well as his family's efforts to save him.

The show delves into the complexities of Singapore's legal system and its zero-tolerance policy on drug trafficking, which means that anyone caught with more than a certain amount of drugs is automatically sentenced to death. Better Man explores the emotional and psychological effects of this harsh punishment on Van, his family, and ultimately, the Australian public.

One of the show’s strong points is its portrayal of the struggle and resilience of Van’s mother, Kim. Hien Nguyen delivers a moving and powerful performance as a mother who is willing to do whatever it takes to save her son, even if that means putting her own life in danger. Kim’s determination and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds and bureaucratic red tape is both inspiring and heart-wrenching.

Another notable aspect of the show is its exploration of the relationship between the two brothers, Van and Khoa. Jordan Rodrigues gives a nuanced and affecting performance as Khoa, who is initially drawn into the drug trafficking operation by his brother’s desperation. However, as the gravity of the situation becomes clearer, Khoa begins to question the morality of their actions, leading to a conflict that threatens to tear the family apart.

Overall, Better Man is a powerful and poignant drama that shines a light on a real-life story of injustice and suffering. The series is well-crafted with strong performances from its ensemble cast, and a compelling narrative that keeps audiences emotionally invested from start to finish. While the subject matter is heavy and at times distressing, Better Man ultimately tells a story of hope and resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship, making it a must-watch for fans of dramatic storytelling.

Better Man
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The Last Dance
4. The Last Dance
August 1, 2013
Buoyed by public sentiment in Australia, Van and his lawyers make a desperate appeal to the president of Singapore for clemency.
Lost Lamb
3. Lost Lamb
August 1, 2013
Convinced by Van's mother to take on his case, Australian lawyer Julian and his team discover that they may be able to free Van on a technicality.
Twin Dragons
2. Twin Dragons
July 25, 2013
Given a chance to combat their country's rampant drug trade, Singapore officials turn up the pressure on Van to confess his guilt.
Lion Block
1. Lion Block
July 25, 2013
This compelling true story, filmed on location in Australia and Vietnam, looks at the remarkable life and death of Van Nguyen, a Vietnamese-Australian man who was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore and executed for his crime in 2005.
  • Premiere Date
    July 25, 2013
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (232)