Chaos Reigns

Posted in Movies by on September 14, 2009

Dir: Lars von Trier

An unnamed couple (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe) are passionate lovers — she’s a PhD student in Mediaeval Feminist Theory, while he’s a much older professional, perhaps a psychologist. When a family member dies, she takes it especially hard and ends up hospitalized and heavily medicated. He decides to “demedicate” her, and act as her therapist in a remote cabin in the woods so she can overcome her anxiety and fears. Sounds pretty tame, doesn’t it? It’s not.

Like Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses (1976) Antichrist is not an easy movie to forget. It’s a devastating, surreal, and multifaceted story, with shifting fantasies, nightmares, and hallucinations. It’s also extremely sexually explicit, and filled with scenes of gore and blood that would not seem out of place in grotesque movies like Saw III or Hostel 2. Dafoe and Gainsbourg are the only people on the screen, but they carry it off. Von Trier has completely abandoned his minimalist Dogme manifesto by breaking every one of its restrictions. He comfortably uses special effects, beautiful music, and extensive CGI images for the benefit of his fable. If you can stomach it, and like to be strongly affected for a cathartic couple of hours, this is a fantastic movie. But if you’re at all squeamish or easily offended, stay away.

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2 Responses

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  1. Grrrrrrrr said, on September 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    i’m a huge fan of Von Trier and also of Gainsbourg and Dafoe, so the fact that this film caused such a kerfuffle at Cannes got me all excited. in the end, though, i was quite disappointed. the last 30 minutes of the film just didn’t match the intensity of the first hour. yes, cinematography was among the best ever. strikingly beautiful. but cannot compare to Medea which is highly recommended to those not brave enough for Antichrist.


  2. […] House that Jack Built is Lars von Trier’s latest work, and like many before – Antichrist, Melancholia,  Nymphomaniac – it’s a tough movie to watch. Excruciating, actually, because you […]


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