Review: Antichrist

It's obvious what director Lars von Trier's intentions were when he penned "Antichrist". He wanted to make a film that was artsy, shocking yet beautiful. A film that went were most others wouldn't, one that didn't hold back. Well he succeeded in the shock factor, but the ride to get there wasn't as easy.

This is where my curiosity often gets the best of me. I read reviews of films that get booed out of the Cannes Film Festival, and I become intrigued. What could possibly offend such an elite group of people, like the ones attending Cannes? Sure they were shocked at 'Last Tango in Paris', that film turned out brilliant. 'Marie Antionette' was supposedly booed, that wasn't that bad. So when I read all the ruckus about von Trier's "Anti Christ", starting Willem DeFeo and Charolette Gainsbourg as "He and She" was a little intrigued. I heard about the gore, "Whatever" I thought. Can't be that bad, Eli Roth has probably done worse. When the film came up on IFC on Demand, I thought it would be an interesting Sunday afternoon movie. I was wrong.

I hate to use this phrase, but I feel that von Trier really did get "up his own ass" with all the "art" in this film. The story follows a married couple, as they make love one night in the shower...and in the living room...and in their bedroom, their baby boy manages to fall to his death outside an open window. "He" (DeFeo) is apparently a psychiatrist. He offers to help his wife deal with this loss because she's blames herself. He decides they should go to a remote cabin in the woods where they will be secluded. She can face her fears alone with him. She obviously comes up with a different idea.

I liked the beautiful opening sequence at first (minus that "was that really necessary" shower shot of their..well you know. There was no dialogue, it was in black and white, and only music played. But when he keeps going on and on with the "close up shot!" "Fading colors!" "Ohh..look at the beautiful trees!" it becomes overkill. You can't force great cinematography or art direction. It comes naturally. Take 'Lord of the Rings" and "Brokeback Mountain" for instance. Those films had great cinematography, and it felt effortless. Hell, "2:37" an Aussie indie about a tragedy in the school had nice shots as well, because the cameraman didn't realize he'd left it on at times. The point is, it's obvious to when you try to hard.

The film moves at a horribly slow pace, knowing slightly what was in store for me, I started staring at the clock, counting down the minutes until she finally snaps on him. (and when your checking the clock on a 104 min film you know you're in trouble) By the time all the graphicness took place, it felt out of place and merely for shock value (which it was, no doubt). It didn't fit in with the story, They never explain once why "She" is obsessed with sex, nor does it explain why she all of a sudden goes ape-shit on her husband. You can guess, but when it goes to the extreme, your starting to wonder why no one is dying from loss of blood. I get what the film was trying to say, but when your climatic scene involves a close up shot of a woman cutting off her own private parts, you can't help but question it. There is virtually no dialogue in this film. Mostly "He" talking about ways to help his wife through her crisis. The ending is abrupt and when the music starts playing, the scene goes black and white you're left with nothing.

Serves me right for wanting to watch a film only based on seeing what everyone at Cannes freaked out about. I see it now, I wish I could vouch for it..I wanted to be one of those people who liked the oddball film, but I can't be.

Recommended: No 1/5 Stars

Memorable Quote: "Chaos Reigns" - and that came from a random talking fox. No, you read that right.


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