Antichrist (2009)

Seriously von Trier, what is your problem with women? Better yet, what is your fascination with reverb?

Seriously von Trier, what is your problem with women? Better yet, what is your fascination with reverb?

Antichrist is one part Persona, , one part In the Realm of the Senses, one part Misery, one part Don’t Look Now, and one part Calvin Klein commercial. Simply put, it is a mess and it doesn’t help that the entire film’s dialog is drenched in reverb. At first, I thought von Trier might be trying to do something interesting with the audio. The cavernous dialog is displacing. It has a similar effect to the ears that Dogville‘s set had on the eyes. However, it doesn’t work.  It grows distracting, especially when the characters retreat to the forest.

I assume this choice in audio filtering is part of the whole dream like atmosphere that von Trier is striving for throughout the picture. The problem with films that strive to recreate dreams  is that this pursuit gives them carte blanc to do what every they please and dismiss all failed ideas with that catch-all excuse of “Well, it’s a dream”. Sadly all dreams are not good ones and Antichrist is a nightmare of epic proportions.

I am all for adventurous filmmaking and have been a fan of some of von Triers most outrageous ideas, but when he says that Antichrist is a the workings of a sick man he’s right. It also feels like the work of a lazy man, with its symbolism being rather uninspired and its need for attention coming mostly through shock tactics.  Should I even bother to mention the talking fox or the genital mutilation? I, for one, do not see how the sex and violence and suffering he exhibits in this film could be the least big cathartic.

That von Trier dedicates the entire piece to Tarkovsky is confusing if not off-putting . It is hard to see the Russian’s inspiration on this mad Dane. By attempting to align himself with Tarkovsky, von Trier’s work seems even more desperate and misguided.

I can only hope von Trier’s next film finds him less sick, but who am I to judge the self-proclaimed greatest filmmaker ever?

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