Monday, February 24, 2014
IMDb plot summary: A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.
Directed by Lars von Trier. Starring Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
(At least one paragraph here has a bunch of spoilers in it.)
Well... oh my.
OK, let me start by saying this is my third von Trier film, and I LOVED the first two (Breaking the Waves and Melancholia). He's not an easy director to watch, but those first two movies spoke to something deep inside me, looking at desperation and depression and all sorts of other intensely negative emotions. I found them oddly cathartic, and that's how I reacted to the first 30 minutes or so of this movie.
Then everything goes a little crazy. It's not about the pain of losing a child anymore, it's suddenly about... witchcraft and women and she might have been going crazy for a really long time and maybe she's evil and has always been evil and nature is evil and men are evil and there are bodies all over the place and animal constellations coming to life? No matter what it is, none of it really connects for me.
Without a clear emotional center or focus -- or, really, even a good sense of what is actually happening and what is just a dream -- all the gory unpleasant scenes near the end just make me squirm the same way any gory horror movie would. Any impact they would have as an extension of the dark, ugly angst of the characters is lost. The visuals in this movie are haunting in a moody, eerie, terrifying way, but they also lose their specificity as the movie goes on.
This is not a movie I'd ever care to watch again. I've been impressed with von Trier in the past, but most of this one truly felt gratuitous. 1.5 stars.
Flickchart: #1426 out of 2023, below Evelyn and above The Interpreter.