|Cast: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg|
Director(s): Lars Von Trier
If you've heard of any of the controversy surrounding this film, you might know where I'm headed with this, but nonetheless I won't reveal any of the 'plot' points or specific disturbing scenes. Rather, I'll discuss the experience.
***MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS!! SERIOUSLY!!***
Okay, visually, this film is masterful. If you can get beyond some of the actual imagery, the cinematography is unmatched. That being said, I don't know who I could really recommend this film to, aside from arthouse-o-philes and film students/professors. It is VERY graphic and VERY disturbing and not for the squeamish.
MIKEY & DERIL - you will hate it.
JEFFY - you might be more compelled, as I was, to sit through it. It definitely provokes discussion and brings up many of the big (or generally vague) questions about good/evil, life/death, reality/surreality, trust, torture, therapy....I could go on, but I'm just scratching the surface.
Many will view this film as self-indulgent art trash, or just vile and repulsive. I would agree with them, but like I said, it was still compelling and daring filmmaking, and beautifully made in depicting its ugliness. I give credit to Von Trier for stepping WAY outside the conventional box and putting out a product that he obviously has faith in, no matter the bile that the public may spit back at him.
For me, there was no real enjoyment in watching the film, short of some technical aspects. It is depressing, disturbing, and despairing, but certainly thought-provoking, and on those merits I think Jeffy would appreciate it. I am dying to discuss this film with someone while it's still fresh in my mind (I saw it alone - the theater had about a dozen people in it, from teens to octogenarians, and no one walked out as I suspected someone might).
Also worthy of note: there are only two actors in the film, and kudos to them for giving what could not have been easy performances, given the material. Von Trier certainly got the most out of them that he could.
I read all the reviews about this on Ebert's site - how many people walked out on it at Cannes, that they gave it a special prize for being vile and nasty.
Ebert, like you, seemed to praise it for the director's vision and gumption to go ahead in the face of retribution.
But, meh...I also hear the whole story surrounds a couple who kill their child out of neglect and how they deal with the guilt. You all know how I feel about Child Death...so that's a hurdle right there.
Most likely, I won't ever watch this...but you never know - if it comes on the dish for free...
Yeah, so I deliberately didn't read up on this until after I saw it and posted my review....Ebert's pretty dead-on.
It really is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, especially judging by all the tomato-meter reviews (currently sitting at 48% - Hey, when you're right 52% of the time, you're wrong 48% of the time!)
Mikey, the child-death issue made me think of you, but really, it would be the LEAST of your worries in this film. The film is presented with a Prologue, 4 chapters, and an Epilogue: the prologue is where the child death occurs but the whole section is filmed exceptionally lovely in B&W, mostly slo-mo, and no soundtrack except for a beautiful Handel aria - it's almost like a hokey jeans commercial (think of Homer's re-done artsy Mr. Plow commercial where they watch it and say, "Dad, was that your commercial?""I don't know!"). If anything, the whole scene comes off as damn near ANGELIC.
It's all the stuff that comes after that's truly disturbing, and it just gets more and more angry, mean, depressing & loathsome as it goes on.
There are two terms I find many people using to describe the film that I'd like to de-bunk right now: Misogynistic and Torture-Porn.
I could sorta see where they were going with the torture-porn term, but this is NOT in the realm of 'Hostel'/'Saw' and all that stuff. I still don't see 'Antichrist' as a horror film - it's not so easy to pigeonhole and shouldn't be, it is its own beast. It is horrific at times, yes, but equally suspenseful, thrilling, fantastical, artsy-fartsy, dramatic & even tender - it does it a disservice to lump it in with all that other shite. The way the graphic violence and porn are presented is not trashy - though it may well be vomit-inducing.
And I was really surprised to see 'Misogynistic' applied to the film. If anything, I found there to be a strong sense of female empowerment and equal parts male-bashing (quite literally, I might add). There is a hatred-of-women issue discussed in the film (both in a historical context and with the main characters), and lots of guilt issues dealt with therein, but ultimately I found that term misleading and entirely missing the point.
And what is the point? Well, that's hard to discuss here - I need to talk about it with someone who's seen the film so as not to reveal more than I have already. This film raises more questions than it answers, and will provoke much heated discussion in reference to its meanings/interpretations and what different people are going to read into it. I would really love to rewatch it in a film class and partake in the hours-long dissection of the film afterwards, because as much as I've been thinking about the film since last night, and as many thoughts as I have on it, I'm sure I'm missing plenty of other insights that different-minded folks would pick up on.
Just wanna say, that with Oscar around the corner and top film lists, etc...
...this is NOT my film of the year, but it IS the one that sits more solidly in my mind than any other I've seen this year. I still think about it, months later. Honorable mention, for sure.
Holy Fucking Shit !
What the fuck was THAT all about ??
I thought this was a comedy !
Seriously though, I knew very little about this movie and whoa, is it a tough watch.
Mitch words it much better than I can above, but true that beyond the actual content which is very hard to stomach (I literally felt sick) it is shot quite beautifully and this movie will leave very long lasting images in my mind. NOT a forgetful movie at all.
Really don't quite know what to say. I am glad that I watched it, but will NEVER sit through it again (no need really).
You watch the first 15 minutes (child death, funeral etc) and think "wow, this IS a hard film to watch. Then you watch the rest and find out that the first 15 minutes are about as "light and bubbly" as it gets.
Oy, I need a drink!
Micth, you made an interesting coment above. I too could see this shown in University film classes & such. Very good conversation piece.
Glad you 'liked' it, or could appreciate it at least.
It really is a tough watch.
I still put forth the challenge to Mikey and Jeffy to give it a go.
And now, here's a kitty.
Let's say, if it's on the dish and I'm folding laundry then I'll give'er a go...
I won't ACTIVELY seek it out though...there's just TOO much that I NEED to see...
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