AntichristI had never before seen a Lars von Trier film. I knew however that usually, they are very brutal and harsh yet strangely beautiful at he same time. I can tell you straight off the bat that Antichrist is no different.


At first, Von Triers concept seems a bit vague: the movie is called antichrist, but revolves around a couple trying to get out of depression after their toddler jumped out of a window. In order to do this, they visit the woman’s greatest fear and end up in Eden, a thick forest-with-a-cabin in the middle of nowhere. This part of the movie makes perfect sense. What comes next, however, gets stranger, creepier and uglier – with a writhingly atrocious last twenty minutes.

Since it’s hard to give a bit of in-depth appreciation for the plot without giving it away for those still wanting to see this film, I’ll put it behind spoiler tags.

[spoiler]My main gripe is – but that might just be me not understanding it – how the stories goes from “death of a child” to “my wife is a witch” in about fifteen minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I like the two parts of the story, but in my mind the link between the both of them was missing. The witch storyline was nicely executed, with symbolism that was eerie at first but shown as a saviour later on (the fox, the deer and the bird). It was extremely bizarre, yet intelligible.[/spoiler]

Summary: movie consists of two subplot which I cannot seem to connect.

Pain (Chaos Reigns)

As a movie, Antichrist is breathtaking. At first because it’s so beautiful (check the trailer for the parts where She is walking through the darkened woods, casting light on the trees), later on because it’s sickeningly horrible. Charlotte Gainsbourg (again in a tragedy-filled role, I guess that’s because she has the face of a beaten dog) and Willem Defoe (who completely ruined himself for me by his performance in Spiderman) perform magnificently: they’re credible and natural. You don’t have the feeling you’re watching two actors – these people seem to feel the pain.

And with them, we do too.

Which brings me to the next part: the pain.

Despair (Gynocide)

In the last twenty minutes – and you know this is coming as soon as you start watching, you know it is coming somehow – things completely blow up. All of a sudden, the tension relieves itself in a horrible, horrible couple of scenes that seem to go on for ages. And, because of the eighty credible minutes before that… you won’t be able to resist.

Once again, I will use spoilers for those who want to see for themselves (which I am not sure I should advise).

[spoiler]If you can watch this without flinching, you probably have no soul. Did they really have to squish testicles, squirt blood, drill through a leg and cut off a clitoris? Wasn’t one of these things enough? I know a von Trier film gets ugly – but this isn’t ugly anymore: it’s sick.[/spoiler]

Summary: ew ew ew ew.

In All…

But still: Antichrist is pretty – before the shit hits the fan and the log hits the – nevermind. That’s why I’m not sure whether I should like it or not. The symbolism is there. The acting is there. The directing and camerawork are most certainly there. So why did it have to turn out the way it did? Why so much? If I’m eating a vomit-flavoured pancake, I certainly don’t want another one and another one and then another one. I might get used to the flavour!

Which brings me to the strangest experience: the crowd. After reading some imdb reviews, it became apparent that there is a crowd for this movie – who call it art. I personally don’t know enough of art to call something art (and movies are always a bit strange on this level), so that’s not what I’m getting at. People tend to justify whatever they didn’t like about Antichrist by saying von Trier “had to do it” to attract a crowd. He had to shoot explicit penetrative sex scenes. He had to be so gruesome, or no one would come.

What a load of bull. Why would someone make a movie that is so adamant on destroying itself and the characters in it, on destruction as a concept and then put in some different scenes to attract a crowd? He put in a penis and a vagina because he thought he needed to. Jesus. He’s a director – a very good one, I have to admit – but given the nature of his movies he will shock you. Just admit the director shocked you. Stop being a pussy and blaming it on others.

It’s okay.

It shocked me too.


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