Thursday, December 17, 2009

FILM REVIEWS: Antichrist

Directed by Lars Von Trier

A nameless couple, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to a cabin in the woods to grieve the loss of their young son. After falling from a window, while the couple have sex in the other room.

This film caused controversy when it screened in Cannes. People boo-ed the film, while others passionately applauded it. Where I sit, I still don't know. And I don't think I'll ever know.

This is a very difficult film to digest, I was almost in physical pain the whole way through. It played like an arthouse horror film. But it's the kind of horror that I've never experienced before, and one that I hopefully will not experience again. It's like a demon that sits on your shoulders and takes away all the happiness and hope inside of you. Or like a dementor from Harry Potter, you know, the creepy hooded monsters that suck all the joy right out of you.

After walking out of the film, I felt scarred. It's not the kind of film one would want to see again or buy the dvd for all their loved ones for Christmas. I can't even define what it's purpose was other than to be so relentlessly brutal to its audience.

But I have to admit that Lars von Trier is one heck of a talented auteur. The images he creates are so beautiful it could potentially make your heart stop. But the reason for your heart stopping might not just come from the beauty of the image but also the horror of which it represents.

If "Antichrist" was a person, it would be the popular, bitchy one at school. The one that everybody worships but secretly hate. They're beautiful but so utterly nasty and vile.

Trier has mastered the technical aspects of filmmaking but I find him so frustratingly immature. In the press conference after the screening of the film in Cannes, when the journalists direct a question at him, he answers it either with a joke, an incomplete answer or he seeks help from the actors sitting beside him. And for a filmmaker who just created a film with such heavy subject matter and who is unable to justify the reasons and the purpose of the film makes me wonder if he really did place a lot of thought towards the work or if he just made it to create a reaction.

RATING: ??/10

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