Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Antichrist Is Disturbing But It Is Worth Watching

Movies written by or directed by Lars Von Trier can't be called ordinary. They are often shocking and disturbing. Leaving the viewer to wonder what it was that inspired Trier to make something that can be considered both magical and graphic. Such is the case with"Antichrist", a movie that falls into the same mold of previous movies directed by Trier. The male character seems like he is in charge and the women the meek character, until we are shown that all along it has been the opposite.

The movie never gives names to it's characters, they are only referred by the names, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Gainsbourg and Dafoe perform with so much confidence, dedication and tact that we stay with them even when their characters are making impossible transitions and their reactions are implausible. The prologue is the opening sequence and we see the two stars having sex, while their young son climbs from his crib and walks out onto a window ledge, when he falls to his death the scene is tragic, graphic and horrifyingly realistic. The grisly scene depicting the child's body smacking onto a snow covered pavement is juxtaposed with clothes in a dryer, a dripping faucet and the couple all at once.

The movie is told in four chapters with a prologue and an epilogue. Chapter one is the grief stage and at the child's funeral, She collapses and spends a month mostly unconscious in the hospital. When She wakes, She is crippled with grief and He, a therapist, takes it upon himself to talk his wife through the grief process. They journey to their cabin in the woods where She spent the previous summer writing. The fact that She was abusing the couple's child the summer before his death is revealed as a catalyst to her monstrous nature. In chapter three, when we think that She has taken things as far as She possible can, She crushes Dafoe's genitalia with a block of wood, She then performs a clitorectomy on herself, and this makes little sense unless we are to believe She is finally assuming the persona of a vindictive masculine abuser.

Antichrist is both inspired by and disabled by Von Trier's ambition to link a psychodrama art film to a horror movie. And this boils down to the film's evasive uncertainty about whether to represent Gainsbourg as a case of psychological trauma or an incarnation of evil. The events of the movie are recounted through a prism of grief, sacrifice and martyrdom. The telling of the tragic loss of their child conveys the grief and agony of the loss of innocence. This is a theme both real and grandiose that may just make Antichrist a masterpiece.

I give Antichrist a 3 and on my avoidance scale I give it a 0, this movie will shock and offend many people, there is graphic nudity of both the male and female bodies. The violence is so realistic that it left me cringing at several scenes. It is realistic and in your face, it can't be avoided, the violence is almost a character of the movie. The switch from normal grieving woman to a crazed violent woman comes swift for Gainsbourg. Dafoe, who looked as if he was in charge at the beginning falls prey to this evil violence. The last half hour of the movie will leave you on the edge of your seat. The ending seems a little confusing, but after the viewer takes the time and gives it the thought the movie deserves, the ending will become almost crystal clear. I can not recommend this movie to everyone, the squeamish should avoid this movie, but for those of you who love movies and can appreciate the story as it is told, even one as violent and graphic as Antichrist should go out and see this movie.

Antichrist is unrated
Running time is 1 hr. 44 mins.

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