I woke up, had breakfast and a coffee, relaxed, and by 11am was watching Antichrist. *Sigh*. This movie was listed in Adam’s recent article 3 Thrillers to Make Your Weekend, and I hope to hell (for my sake more than anything Adam), that I create an adequate addition to his hype.
“Chaos reigns”, throughout Lars Von Trier’s new film, the film in which he calls “the most important of my career”. He has also been quoted as saying that art should be like having a rock in your shoe, and with the discomfort this movie made me feel, he truly created art under his terms. Considering I haven’t stopped talking about this film and it’s themes all day, I would say that yes I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Synopsis? A couple who retreat into a cabin in the forest (adequately named Eden) after the death of their son, a cabin in which the wife has vacationed at with their son previously to get away and write her thesis on gynocide. Woman is grief stricken, man is an arrogant therapist who tries to treat his wife as a patient. Man discovers wife’s research and finds woman truly buys into the idea of gynocide, and through mythological related interest, thinks women are innately evil. Woman turns on man. The steady decay of a grief-drama into what The Wrap defines as a “deeply perverted take on the horror genre”, is not only seamless and perfectly timed, but fascinating.
First and foremost, the cinematography in this movie was beyond breathtaking. The extremely high definition, slow motion opening scene of this movie moves like a moving painting, nearly breathing in front of you. I was entranced from the start. Throughout the film the same technique is used, namely with scenes throughout the forest (nature being an integral part to this movie), and again the living painting hypnotizes you beyond hope and reason, and choice for that matter.
The movie is divided into four chapters, the first three being “Grief”, “Pain”, and “Despair”, each one picking up exactly where the last left off. Although these three emotions come in the form of a fox, a crow, and a deer later on in the film (I know I know it doesn’t sound like it makes much sense but somehow it does), more importantly these chapters truly divide the emotional ambiguity of this movie, taking the guess work out of what the actors are doing/feeling, so you can concentrate on trying to figure the effing plot and it’s themes out.
This film has come under so much controversy for being wholly misogynistic, which is without a doubt the primary running theme in the movie, but when asked to explain himself, the always arrogant Mr. Von Trier just kinda reminded everyone they were guests at HIS movie and that he doesn’t have to explain anything. True though. Why should an artist have to justify his own art. If you don’t agree with the messages in any art, then choose not to participate. But the fact is that the theme could really be seen as anti-misogynistic. I love fangoria.com’s explanation, saying that “Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character is neither a heroine nor a defenseless victim. She can kill, destroy, and even harm herself, terrifying a man as an equal”. Amen. And what a psycho she truly turns out to be.
Listen this really is one of the most graphic film I’ve ever seen, I’m putting it out there, and we’re talking genetal mutilation, violent and severely explicit penetrative sex scenes (to just name a couple). So don’t take your mother, or tell your mother you saw this film (mom stop reading this), or go at 11am before the coffee has kicked in and your breakfast has settled. But Willem Dafoe’s annoyingly chauvanist and patronizing performance is entrancing (I expect nothing less from him), and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s award winning role (Canne’s Best Actress) is completely deserving. She steals the film, and not just because I could now draw her vagina with my eyes closed. Yes the film is that graphic, but I did think the extent of the shock value was completely thematic.
Applause applause applause for Antichrist. Now I’m going to go watch Bambi or something not involving vagina. Don’t call me.