Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Antichrist (2009)

My relationship with Lars Von Trier has been very turbulent over the years. I adore, love, worship The Kingdom, I actually like Europa, Dogville is a fine movie... and so on. But I never understood The Idiots - but I've decided to watch it again to see what the fuzz is about, and I think that Dancer in the Dark is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Both boring, pretentious and with some very, very bad acting (and Björk should get near a camera again). But I like the guy anyway. But Antichrist restored my faith in the man!

It's like walking into a dream filled with symbolism, some very obvious and a lot much more obscure. From the first scene in ultra-slowmo where Gainsbourg and Dafoe have graphic sex and the tragic accident to the long scenes of dialogue that follows. Dafoe trying to figure out and analyse his wife grief and the beautiful hypnos-trip to Eden, the cabin in the forest. And the stunning and violent finale that has some of the most painful things I've seen in a movie, and most original to.

But the violence is such a small part of Antichrist. There's a couple of seconds with stuff that can seem be controversial and/or graphic, but this story is mainly a drama about loss, about religion, about gender and a very complicated relationship. But when it's gore/violence it's quite hard, and makes even a tough guy like me to almost cover my eyes (or actually, more cover my ears). Von Triers knows how to create talk around his movies, and I see him as an arthouse-version of William Castle. There's always a gimmick, and I think it's beautiful to mix that sense of commercial thinking and thought-provoking art.

Von Triers style of directing is very typical, but maybe more stylish and "normal" than a lot of his other recent movies. It's neither static or mega-shaky. It's inbetween, and it was probably for the best regarding this movie. It will be very interesting to see his next movie, Melancholia, a sci-fi movie - which I guess will surprise everyone that's expecting a normal sci-fi. But the main stars of Antichrist is Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe, both making marvelous performances. As common with Von Triers movies, the female character has the most complicated part, and there's no difference here. Gainsbourg goes through every emotion there is, often within seconds, and there's no doubt she's a real person. Not a single frame indicates that where talking about a movie character here. A problem that every swedish movie have for example. Dafoe makes an excellent part where he have to be more less visually one-emotional. He must pretend to have everything under control all the time, even when shit hits the fan at the end.

This is far from a horror movie, even if it has some moments that could belong in one. But it's a drama, a strong drama, and a brave one to. It's nice to see movies that just dosen't fuck around, and shows life, death, love, sorrow as it is.

Antichrist is a highly original movie, and probably one of the best movies I've seen in 2009.

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