PLOT SUMMARY: Baby dies, mommy cries. And then everything gets much, much, much, much, much, much, much worse.
HAIKU REVIEW: Ouch, ouch, NOOOOO, OUCH, NOOOO!
Fuck. Holy shit. Oh my god.
No. STOP. NOOOOOOO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Wife’s nymphomania is too distracting for husband to notice she is a child-abusing, murderous, crazy bitch. Genital mutilation ensues.
PEOPLE: Directed by Lars von Trier. Remind me never to watch anything by him again.
Starring Willem Dafoe (Green Goblin in Spider-Man, The Aviator, Shadow Of The Vampire, American Psycho, The Boondock Saints, eXistenZ, Wild At Heart, Platoon) and Charlotte Gainsbourg with her weird mouth (21 Grams). And that’s it. It’s just the 2 of them for the entire movie.
QUIRKS: A drama that becomes a psychological thriller. Some say it edges on supernatural thriller while being ambivalent if that is the case — which is a bit how The Number 23 felt.
I never will think of acorns in the same way. Now they are like miscarriages, and will make me think of the Pixies song “Dead” every time they hit my roof. “Uriah hit the crapper… The crapper…”
VISUALS: This is a cerebral movie, not a visual movie. However, they used some interesting “lens effects” that made the woods quite trippy. It almost felt like analog lens distortion, but I heard this was shot on an HD digital camera. Either way, I might be wrong about the technical facts, and they don’t really matter. The effect was neat, and helped add some insanity-related tension to the movie.
MORALS: I’m not sure what moral can be taken out of this movie. The strongest moral might be “don’t watch this movie if you don’t want to squirm”. I think that’s a pretty important lesson that might be more important than any lesson the film has to offer. Seriously: This film will hurt you. This film will make watching the last season of Six Feet Under feel like watching Barney.
POLITICS: There are definitely a lot of gender politics in this movie, causing some to call it misogynistic. However, one must remember that DEPICTING something is not the same as CONDONING it. A Slayer song about a serial killer (Seasons In The Abyss) is not Slayer condemning serial killing. It is Slayer DEPICTING serial killing. In a similar method, the director is not necessarily condoning the violence towards women [AND men] depicted in this movie. So quit your whining, feminazis. This movie isn’t exactly pleasant for guys to watch. In fact, it’s about the least pleasant movie ever.
BAD STUFF: Horror. Sorry. Anguish. Emotional pain. Depression. Crying over a baby. And then there’s the REAL HORRORS that I don’t want to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil the movie. Amazingly, there were people who laughed through this movie. Wow. We actually aborted this the first time we watched it, because we realized it was far too heavy for our mood that night. This movie caused me to have to take some major deep breaths. Carolyn couldn’t even look at the screen for some of it. Some of the most painful, horrible, disturbing images ever.
But not a lot of them. This is no Saw or Hostel. The TRULY TRAUMATIZING, horrible moments maybe only add up to 1-2 minutes of on-screen violence. Most of the rest of the movie is an exercise in exploring sorrow and heartache.
The movie is definitely quite pretentious and “artsy”. That is the source for some people’s laughter. Apparently, a lot of people laughed at the whole “Chaos Reigns” thing. They thought it was so pretentious and hackneyed that they “burst into laughter for 15 minutes”. I knew this was a heavy “art film” going in, and did indeed feel the air of pretension permeating the whole movie. Especially the epilogue — which apparently was not the original ending to the movie. I found the epilogue to actually make the film worse.
Symbolism can only take you so far. When you obfuscate the true meaning of a film in the name of artsy symbolism, you actually obfuscate the meaning of your work and make it harder for people to understand. The contest of rising up to the challenge of understanding obfuscated symbolism is mostly a pissing contest among academics who want to flaunt their superior analytical skills, and doesn’t really have much to do with the enjoyment of a film. Unless you’re David Lynch, an overuse of symbolism can actually harm your work for a lot of observers. I think some of that happened with Antichrist. The talking fox? The epilogue? I think this might have been a more powerful film for most WITHOUT those parts.
And yes, I get that there are deeper meanings. But they have to be interesting and germane to the plot for most people to care. Seeing the variety of speculation in the IMDB forum helps prove the point that the director’s point wasn’t proven.
CONCLUSION: This is one of the most painful things I’ve ever watched in my life. As horrible as the experience was, this movie gets bonus points for invoking intense emotion — even if it’s unpleasant emotion. And this movie has about a minute of some of the most horrible things I’ve seen. Ever. In my life. I get adrenaline rushes and slight terror attacks just thinking about some of the events that transpired in this movie. As horribly painful of an experience as it was, I would recommend it to any serious movie watcher. TEST YOUR VIEWING MIGHT.
But if one were to rate the *intensity* of this film, it would be 5/5 stars, 9/10. The worst moments are some of the most intense things I have seen ever, period.
RECOMMENDATION: It’s definitely worth a trip to the IMDB forums after seeing this, if not to glimpse the myriad of reactions that people had to this film.
SIMILAR MOVIES: Hopefully, none ever. But why the FUCK are they making a video game based on this? WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK??????????? “According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, a video game called “Eden,” which is based on the film, is in the works. It will start where the film ends. “It will be a self-therapeutic journey into your own darkest fears, and will break the boundaries of what you can and can’t do in video games,” says video game director Morten Iversen.”"
MOVIE QUOTE: She: A crying woman is a scheming woman.
COINCIDENCES: (South Park S3E08, Antichrist) In the same night, aborted 2 videos that both had the son walking in on his parents having sex right at the beginning. I don’t remember why we aborted South Park. I think we’d seen it already.