Sunday, October 24, 2010

Antichrist

(2009) ****

Lars von Trier has said that "a film should be like a stone in your shoe".

I have not seen any of his other films, but this one certainly fit that bill. It is definitely a movie I will be thinking about for some time. You can read plot summaries by JSP and Cat, and I'm kind of glad I don't have to try to explain it. Although the outline of the plot is simple enough. It's the depth of the chaos that goes on when the couple go to the cabin that is...well, batshit crazy. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it.

The filming and cinematography is beautiful. Amazing at times. Completely horrifying at times.


The actors, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, are incredible. Their discussions and exchanges are so intense - even when being gentle. Truly a tour de force for both of them.

As JSP mentioned - it's hard to figure out what von Trier's message is with this movie. Certainly it's a statement on grief. However it also delves deeply into the mystery of Nature and human nature - and specifically the extreme dark sides of both. Many critics derided the film for its misogynistic themes. In fact, " The ecumenical jury at the Cannes festival gave the film a special "anti-award" and declared the film to be 'the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world'." Interestingly, von Trier's production company is considered the first mainstream film company to produce hardcore pornographic films directed specifically towards female audiences. A quote from Wikipedia, "Women too like to see other people having sex. What they don’t like is the endless close-ups of hammering bodyparts without a story. Lars von Trier is the first to have realised this and produced valuable quality porn films for women." A misogynist who makes quality porn for women is something of an oxymoron in my book. Maybe that's just me.

While there are parts of Antichrist that are definitely pornographic - it is still a horror flick. Granted, it's a character driven horror flick, but I still hid my eyes on a couple of occasions. I'm not quite as in love with it as Freeek or JSP. I think that's mostly because I like a little more clarity in my movies. But I still definitely recommend it.

6 comments:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I'm impressed you watched this DCD! I no longer think of you as that gentle flower that needs to be shielded from the evils in the world. (kidding)

I just lowered my rating to **** now that dust is settling. First of all, I don't believe in the ****1/2 rating. Either it's **** or ***** (for some reason). Secondly I got overexcited because I was thrilled to see a credible director take on horror. Doing so is often ridiculed as "slumming it". Can you think of any other already established director that went on to make a kick-ass horror movie? I was going to say Danny Boyle (who directed Trainspotting and then 28 Days Later), but his first movie Shallow Grave was horror.

Anyway I loved your review. I gotta ask though, did you cover your eyes during that scene?

DCD said...

Yes, yes I did. Not the entire thing, but for the actual "action" - I had to look away.

Another interesting thing about Lars- his first movie, "Element of Crime" is about a guy chasing down a serial killer. Doesn't look like this is his first foray into horror.

I'm not sure of anyone who has gone from established to horror. Seems like it's usually the other way around. (Peter Jackson comes to mind.)

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Yup. Peter Jackson, Sam Rami, David Cronenberg, David Lynch.. Maybe Robert Rodriguez counts but he went from action to horror which doesn't quite count.

Element of Crime, eh? I'm actually inspired to check out some of von Trier's other films.

Catfreeek said...

I loved Dancer in the Dark and The Kingdom so I wasn't unfamiliar with his strange world. I also think you shouldn't mull and change your rating. Sometimes I want to change a rating but what I felt when I initially watched something is my gut reaction so it's true.

DCD if anyone dares call you a Biddy now I think you should deck them.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

And then destroy their genitals!

Good point Catfreeek. Excellent point, actually.

Landshark said...

Just downloaded this one.