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Melancholia - 26/9/2011 11:05:12 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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he's a genius - 26/9/2011 11:05:12 AM   
bereski


Posts: 292
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From: Torun
one of the greatest movie ever made. High-class masterpiece.

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Post #: 2
- 26/9/2011 8:47:40 PM   
sirisol

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 31/1/2006
Just beautiful. And so well-played.

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Post #: 3
Disagreement! - 29/9/2011 1:48:41 PM  1 votes
adam250579

 

Posts: 17
Joined: 27/9/2011
sorry, i agree with your reviews 99.9% of the time but this film was dull, depressing and pointless. Ill give 1 star for Kirstens chest

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RE: Disagreement! - 29/9/2011 11:24:15 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1097
Joined: 26/11/2005
Saw this in Poland in June.  This is my review from the time.  I thoroughly recommend it.

Melancholia (Von Trier) 9/10

As another famous Danish export has been known to proclaim (with a bit of paraphrasing), Lars Von Trier doesn't do Hollywood disaster movies but, if he did, they would probably look something like Melancholia.  With Melancholia, Von Trier has put together as starry a cast as any Hollywood action blockbuster from the past few years could muster - Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Brady Corbet, Alexander and Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling join Von Trier returnees John Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the cast.  Yet this is unlike any disaster movie you have seen before.

One of the reasons for this is that the disaster element takes an awfully long time to get going.  Indeed, we have a whole chapter of relative calm before the storm.  This opening chapter revolves around the wedding of Justine (Dunst) and Michael (A. Skarsgard), seemingly the perfect couple - very much in love and enjoying the early throes of married life in spite of the tribulations around them - a huffy wedding planner, car problems and a rather dysfunctional family - the acid tongued mother, the lecherous father, the uptight sister and brother-in-law, not to get started on the attendant work colleagues.  That this opening chapter represents the relative calm tells you what you need to know.

The melancholia at the heart of this film is not just a state of mind but a planet, previously hidden by the Sun but which now threatens to either hit the Earth destroying everything within its path or to glide harmlessly and serenely past the globe in an astromer's dream depending on which characters you choose to believe.  In the hands of a Roland Emmerich or Michael bay, this premise would be translated into a flag waving implausiable tale of heroics and daring-do as Kiefer Sutherland's amateur scientist did the impossible and saved the Earth from almost certain doom using rockets designed by his young son.  Von Trier does things a little differently.

This is classic Von Trier filmmaking and the sombre tone of impending doom reflects the public psyche of the main himself.  Melancholia is also a film which looks and sounds fantastic in a way which Von Trier is also making a style of his.  However much one hated Antichrist (and I did), one couldn't fault the way the film looked and sounded and this film continues that trend with exquisite use of music throughout and lustrous pictures, in particular the pre-credit sequence of slow-motion footage and some beautiful moonlit shots of Kirsten Dunst, which some viewers will no doubt enjoy for more than the cinematography.

Well know for pushing his actors to the limits of their tolerance, particularly his leading ladies (just ask Nicole Kidman), Von Trier does get fine performances out of them and Kirsten Dunst (and to a lesser extent Charlotte Gainsbourg) is no exception - raw and vulnerable yet with a fierce intellect and an almost unknowing cruelty, this is the sort of performance which reminds you what a good actress she is with the right material.  Likewise, Kiefer Sutherland is also very convincing as the sneering rich landowner and both Skarsgards are extremely watchable in small roles.

Unlikely to find/keep a mainstream audience, many of whom may well be put off by the opening pre-credit sequence which will test the patience of a fair few, this is a film which rewards those who stick with it and continues Von Trier's dismantling of the Hollywood genre pool - what next, a Von Trier rom-com?  Whilst the two chapters are almost so disperate as to be separate films, some of the devices used to trim the cast of characters are somewhat too abrupt and furthermore, some of those character so hideously unlikeable that you wonder how any of the other characters put up with having them in their lives, this is the perfect antidote to a summer of Hollywood bombast, not such the Antichrist as the anti-Michael Bay and possibly, one of the most depressingly and unrelentlessly bleak films made in recent memory.  But one worth seeing.


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TITS!!! - 1/10/2011 4:40:59 PM   
Pelle

 

Posts: 93
Joined: 19/5/2008
Great movie but you forgot the most important reason to see this film: Kirsten Dunsts perfect pair of bare breasts! On screen! Finally!

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Post #: 6
Don't believe the crtitics - 3/10/2011 5:37:34 PM   
theoutsider

 

Posts: 3
Joined: 29/7/2009
Don't believe the critics>AntiChrist wasn't so much shocking as badly made,like a poorly directed horror film vwith no tension.
This is the same.It masquerades as art(the images of the opening few minutes are good)but otherwise is a
dull shallow film.It is neither profound nor in fact makes sense.
Kirsten Dunst's performance was dreadful.One minute she's too depressed to have sex with her husband,the next she's bonking someone on a golf course.Hard to have sympathy when her husband leaves her.No mention of why she is depressed about life except when she tells her sister that "The world is evil" towards the end.
Lots of shallow characters with whom it was hard to empathise.
John Hurt's character-Kirsten's father-is meant to be life enhancing but you just want to punch the irritating old bore in the face.
When the end of the World comes even that becomes dull, as we have to watch it through the eyes of the two dreary sisters(Dunst and Gainsbourg)Kiefer Sutherland-the strongest character in the film-has inexplicable committed suicide-no goodbye to either his son or wife.
Not a patch on Terence Malick's Tree of Life.The film was neither action or dialogue driven.I walked out and asked for my money back.
.

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Post #: 7
Don't believe the crtitics - 3/10/2011 5:37:36 PM   
theoutsider

 

Posts: 3
Joined: 29/7/2009
Don't believe the critics>AntiChrist wasn't so much shocking as badly made,like a poorly directed horror film vwith no tension.
This is the same.It masquerades as art(the images of the opening few minutes are good)but otherwise is a
dull shallow film.It is neither profound nor in fact makes sense.
Kirsten Dunst's performance was dreadful.One minute she's too depressed to have sex with her husband,the next she's bonking someone on a golf course.Hard to have sympathy when her husband leaves her.No mention of why she is depressed about life except when she tells her sister that "The world is evil" towards the end.
Lots of shallow characters with whom it was hard to empathise.
John Hurt's character-Kirsten's father-is meant to be life enhancing but you just want to punch the irritating old bore in the face.
When the end of the World comes even that becomes dull, as we have to watch it through the eyes of the two dreary sisters(Dunst and Gainsbourg)Kiefer Sutherland-the strongest character in the film-has inexplicable committed suicide-no goodbye to either his son or wife.
Not a patch on Terence Malick's Tree of Life.The film was neither action or dialogue driven.I walked out and asked for my money back.
.

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Post #: 8
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 4/10/2011 12:47:29 AM   
Rgirvan44


Posts: 19039
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
A truely great film. Directed like a master painter, with compelling performances and a mood of oppresive darkness.

The final shot has been stuck in my head for days.

This needs to be seen on the big screen.


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Post #: 9
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 4/10/2011 10:56:35 AM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
*SERIOUS SPOILERS*
Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)
– We start at the end – the end of the world, and a series of surreal, dreamlike images, set to Wagner, depicting the possible final moments of two sisters, a young boy, a few dozen birds and a horse. One sees Kirsten Dunst's Justine with her hands pointing skywards, spindly tassles of electricity crackling from her fingers – among the most arresting moments of the year. Another, which shows Charlotte Gainsbourg's legs disappearing into a golf course, is less successful. You imagine these passages will also close the picture, but they don't – they seem to belong to a parallel universe. This is a von Trier film after all, and he's a contrary bastard. He's also got a handheld camera fetish, and no sooner has he wowed us with those painterly, uber-ambitious snapshots, than he snaps back and we're in firmly Dogme-ish territory.

The first half – titled "Justine” – is set at the character's wedding, where the fantasy nuptials are interspersed with her decidedly erratic behaviour. The napping, sobbing and selfishness nails the banality and exhaustion of clinical depression, but while there is no rationalism in mental illness, a sex scene with a stranger in a golf bunker seems fraudulent and thrown in for attention. The director's barbs at the PR industry, amusing as they are, also distract from what should be the focus: the relationship between Justine and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who suffers from depression's own stressy sister: anxiety. All in all, the wedding contains several very powerful scenes, including a heartbreaking sequence in which Dunst unthinkingly abandons a symbolic gift from her husband, but also too many plot threads that lead nowhere and a general feeling that we've been here before – not at the end of the world, but at the wedding of a troubled young woman (Breaking the Waves), peopled by a family that hate each other's guts (the superb Festen). This lengthy set-piece is anchored by an impressive performance from Dunst. I don't think she's perfect – for one thing, there's a gaping chasm between her tremendous visual expressiveness and her vocal delivery, which is passable at best – but the dialogue-light screenplay suits her, and the manner in which Justine's mask slips and then evaporates is poignantly, effectively realised. Like George Cukor and William Wyler, von Trier is a great director of actresses – Emily Watson, Bjork and Nicole Kidman have all done their best work for him – and Dunst's meaty characterisation is an eye-opener, if not a complete triumph. He also draws a fine, though less showy, performance from Gainsbourg, and while John Hurt and Charlotte Rampling are a touch underused (neither is on top form anyway, so perhaps that's no great loss), there's some unexpectedly strong work from Kiefer Sutherland as Gainsbourg's wealthy, secretly fretful husband.

The second half – "Claire” – is like a Bergman film, if Bergman had a thing about horses and was a Neanderthal, though the often uninspired domestic wranglings are lifted by strong acting and a handful of masterful scenes: Justine beating her cherished stallion to within an inch of its life, a harrowing, realistic sequence in which her depressive is flatly terrified of taking a bath, and a neat bit of gimmickry that sees the approaching Melancholia looming large over a homemade "are we all going to die?” device. Yup, looks like it. Whatever flaws the film has, and there are clearly many, they're compensated for by a final 15 minutes that's extremely memorable, and a final 10 seconds that might be the most extraordinary thing I've ever seen in the cinema: the incoming planet dominating the horizon, dwarfing the three figures in the foreground, before a wave of fire rolls in, obliterating the land and finally swallowing up the screen. Not a great film, then, but a film with truly great moments. (3)

< Message edited by rick_7 -- 4/10/2011 10:58:32 AM >


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- 5/10/2011 11:42:11 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 2958
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At the risk of sounding pretentious, Melancholia is terrifyingly depressing, hauntingly realistic, and just incredibly powerful. I can hardly describe the way I felt at the end of this film without giving away spoilers, but it really struck me. There's really only one word to sum it up - brilliant.

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Post #: 11
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 6/10/2011 12:33:30 PM   
Cruisecontroller


Posts: 4426
Joined: 28/4/2006
 
A SPOILERS note at the start of the review would have been a considerate thing to do as you seen to have given away most of what happens (I haven`t seen it yet).  


quote:

ORIGINAL: theoutsider

Don't believe the critics>AntiChrist wasn't so much shocking as badly made,like a poorly directed horror film vwith no tension.
This is the same.It masquerades as art(the images of the opening few minutes are good)but otherwise is a
dull shallow film.It is neither profound nor in fact makes sense.
Kirsten Dunst's performance was dreadful.One minute she's too depressed to have sex with her husband,the next she's bonking someone on a golf course.Hard to have sympathy when her husband leaves her.No mention of why she is depressed about life except when she tells her sister that "The world is evil" towards the end.
Lots of shallow characters with whom it was hard to empathise.
John Hurt's character-Kirsten's father-is meant to be life enhancing but you just want to punch the irritating old bore in the face.
When the end of the World comes even that becomes dull, as we have to watch it through the eyes of the two dreary sisters(Dunst and Gainsbourg)Kiefer Sutherland-the strongest character in the film-has inexplicable committed suicide-no goodbye to either his son or wife.
Not a patch on Terence Malick's Tree of Life.The film was neither action or dialogue driven.I walked out and asked for my money back.
.


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Last five movies seen & rated by me.

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Post #: 12
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 6/10/2011 1:16:07 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
Some SPOILERS coming up.

quote:

ORIGINAL: theoutsider

No mention of why she is depressed about life except when she tells her sister that "The world is evil" towards the end.

She has clinical depression, which is an illness.

I certainly empathised and sympathised with her character, who was crippled by her condition, in the same way that I would empathise or sympathise with somebody who had a debilitating physical illness. Other than the golf bunker bit, which I wasn't sure really rang true (though mental illness obviously does cause unaccountable behaviour), I thought it was a very realistic characterisation and "made sense" - as much as any portrait is going to. Tim Lott wrote a brilliant article in The Guardian the other year about how the movies constantly get it wrong about mental illness, since it is for the most part boring, tiring, internalised and, by definition, self-centred. There are a few films that convince in this regard - he picked out Terence Davies' Trilogy, if memory serves - but most screen portrayals are too chicly pouty or too wacky. I wondered if Dunst herself has first-hand evidence of depression, such was the insight she seemed to bring to the role, and I read an interview with her on Monday saying that she does.

quote:

When the end of the World comes even that becomes dull, as we have to watch it through the eyes of the two dreary sisters(Dunst and Gainsbourg)Kiefer Sutherland-the strongest character in the film-has inexplicable committed suicide-no goodbye to either his son or wife.

As regards Kiefer Sutherland - if you mean he's the "strongest" in terms of his confidence that a calamity will be averted, that's not really true. He puts on a brave face for his wife and wants to believe what he's telling her, but he still stockpiles supplies and when the reality strikes, he's unable to deal with it. Von Trier doesn't attempt to explain his suicide beyond that, but it could also be that the character can't face his wife, knowing that his "promise" to her meant nothing (how could it?) - or is simply driven out of his mind by the unspeakable horror of what is about to happen.

< Message edited by rick_7 -- 6/10/2011 1:20:45 PM >


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Post #: 13
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 6/10/2011 7:34:00 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27268
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From: Enemies of Film HQ
quote:

ORIGINAL: theoutsider

Don't believe the critics>AntiChrist wasn't so much shocking as badly made,like a poorly directed horror film vwith no tension.


This is fucking ridiculous.


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I really wish I could go down to see Privates

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RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 7/10/2011 4:59:45 PM   
Spaldron


Posts: 10485
Joined: 6/10/2006
From: Chair
Can you believe my local cinema are only showing this till tomorrow night then that's it. Fuck its only been out a week, and the only screening tomorrow is 23.20!

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And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.

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Post #: 15
RE: Don't believe the crtitics - 7/10/2011 5:19:19 PM   
Wild about Wilder


Posts: 1630
Joined: 9/4/2010
From: Hertfordshire
To me it was good not great but I thought Gainsbourg gave the better performance, also irked by the fact everyone in Dunst's family seemed to be English apart from her?
7/10

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Post #: 16
- 8/10/2011 6:38:14 PM   
jrewing1000


Posts: 486
Joined: 23/11/2005
I am getting increasingly frustrated with these lazy reviews that spend most of their word count describing the movie rather than appraising it.

That said, this film is pretty heavy going but quality stuff. Just please, Empire, stop spoiling the enjoyment of discovering the content of film as you watch. It may not be spoiling the ending, but you can still spoil the rest of it.

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Post #: 17
RE: - 9/10/2011 4:04:35 AM   
Spaldron


Posts: 10485
Joined: 6/10/2006
From: Chair
We'll I'm glad I caught the last screening of this at my local as it was a beautiful and strangely melancholic (yes I know I just said that) film which had a lot to say about depression and inner conflict in a very poetic and visual way. Don't care about Von Triers off screen controversies, he did a great job with this. Just a shame no one went to see it. 4/5

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And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.

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Post #: 18
Melancholia Review - 9/10/2011 1:28:07 PM   
dianarus

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 9/10/2011
Well, with all due respect (I love the Empire magazine!) in my opinion the Empire's review of Melancholia is a complete waste of space. As have been pointed out above you described the plot of the movie, but didn't dwell on intricacies and depths behind the idea involved in the movie. The movie is not for someone who enjoys a good comedy or maybe even silly dramas from time to time. It is a masterpiece to be savoured and enjoyed by people who know something about movies already. I have to admit that I am not familiar with other Lars Von Trier's movies, but this one completely blew me away. Melancholia is a movie about many things. It is about a tragedy of living a life, without uncovering its purpose. It is about the fragility of human life and a day-to-day life struggle of someone who tries hard to succeed in life, but does not see any point in doing so. It is about the inevitability of death and the sense of hopelessness following the realization of one's own insignificance.Overall the movie is visually stunning, directed at a masterclass level and definitely worth a watch.


< Message edited by dianarus -- 9/10/2011 1:32:03 PM >

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Post #: 19
RE: Melancholia Review - 11/10/2011 12:37:33 AM   
Popcorn Required

 

Posts: 22
Joined: 18/2/2010
It was a good film, not quite a 5 starrer but definitely worth investing time in and you will be thinking about how you would approach an oncoming apocalypse long after the lights come up
It was quite accessible for a Lars Von Trier film which surprised me, but I'm not sure whether the opening montage would have worked better at the beginning or at the end.
After the adulation heaped on her at Cannes I wasn't really that impressed with Kirsten Dunst's performance especially in the latter half of the film and think that Charlotte Gainsbourg probably was the better actor and I think a lot of the characters at the wedding are too easily dismissed almost like its a completely separate movie. Rampling and Skarsgaard senior came across as too hateful to care about, but with Von Trier that may have been the point.
If you can see it at the cinema I would urge you to do so because the looming planet finale is a truly cinematic moment of a rumbling crescendo of sound combined with the beauty and horror of Melancholia (the planet)

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Post #: 20
RE: Melancholia Review - 30/10/2011 1:51:00 PM   
Herr Schnitzel

 

Posts: 205
Joined: 1/2/2009
I'm always rooting for Von Trier to make a film that I will like and I never fail to be disappointed. Von Trier has one idea here (depressives will cope better with the end of the world than non-depressives) and he bangs away at it like a toddler with a tin drum. At least this film isn't as cynical and misogynistic as most of his previous films and he doesn't seem to laugh at his audience here. No matter how sincere he is though, there is not much depth to the film or its one-note characters. In terms of style this is old school Euro arthouse, without the wit or conceptual daring of a Resnais who similarly posed privileged people in expensive surroundings. The film is beautifully shot and has moments of visual poetry. Unfortunately all the most ravishing imagery happens in the the first 5 minutes.

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Post #: 21
RE: Melancholia Review - 30/10/2011 5:02:58 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

I'm always rooting for Von Trier to make a film that I will like and I never fail to be disappointed. Von Trier has one idea here (depressives will cope better with the end of the world than non-depressives) and he bangs away at it like a toddler with a tin drum. At least this film isn't as cynical and misogynistic as most of his previous films and he doesn't seem to laugh at his audience here. No matter how sincere he is though, there is not much depth to the film or its one-note characters. In terms of style this is old school Euro arthouse, without the wit or conceptual daring of a Resnais who similarly posed privileged people in expensive surroundings. The film is beautifully shot and has moments of visual poetry. Unfortunately all the most ravishing imagery happens in the the first 5 minutes.

Interesting review.

Have you seen Breaking the Waves? Very divisive, I know, but I think that's easily the best thing he's ever done.

< Message edited by rick_7 -- 30/10/2011 5:03:19 PM >


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Post #: 22
RE: Melancholia Review - 30/10/2011 5:32:23 PM   
Herr Schnitzel

 

Posts: 205
Joined: 1/2/2009
quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7

quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

I'm always rooting for Von Trier to make a film that I will like and I never fail to be disappointed. Von Trier has one idea here (depressives will cope better with the end of the world than non-depressives) and he bangs away at it like a toddler with a tin drum. At least this film isn't as cynical and misogynistic as most of his previous films and he doesn't seem to laugh at his audience here. No matter how sincere he is though, there is not much depth to the film or its one-note characters. In terms of style this is old school Euro arthouse, without the wit or conceptual daring of a Resnais who similarly posed privileged people in expensive surroundings. The film is beautifully shot and has moments of visual poetry. Unfortunately all the most ravishing imagery happens in the the first 5 minutes.

Interesting review.

Have you seen Breaking the Waves? Very divisive, I know, but I think that's easily the best thing he's ever done.


I've seen it and unfortunately I didn't like it at all. Like Dancer in the Dark it felt like an experiment in emotional manipulation, topped off by a thoroughly cynical last shot that was like a nasty joke at the expense of the audience. Like lambs to the slaughter, the emotional torture he inflicts on his female protagonists was about as pleasant to watch as as observing someone drowning kittens.

The only thing Von Trier has done that I like (actually I absolutely love it) is his TV series Riget/The Kingdom.


< Message edited by Herr Schnitzel -- 30/10/2011 6:01:49 PM >

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Post #: 23
RE: Melancholia Review - 30/10/2011 5:42:00 PM   
Spaldron


Posts: 10485
Joined: 6/10/2006
From: Chair
Breaking the Waves is really good if a little far fetched.

_____________________________

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.

(in reply to Herr Schnitzel)
Post #: 24
RE: Melancholia Review - 30/10/2011 6:25:42 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7

quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

I'm always rooting for Von Trier to make a film that I will like and I never fail to be disappointed. Von Trier has one idea here (depressives will cope better with the end of the world than non-depressives) and he bangs away at it like a toddler with a tin drum. At least this film isn't as cynical and misogynistic as most of his previous films and he doesn't seem to laugh at his audience here. No matter how sincere he is though, there is not much depth to the film or its one-note characters. In terms of style this is old school Euro arthouse, without the wit or conceptual daring of a Resnais who similarly posed privileged people in expensive surroundings. The film is beautifully shot and has moments of visual poetry. Unfortunately all the most ravishing imagery happens in the the first 5 minutes.

Interesting review.

Have you seen Breaking the Waves? Very divisive, I know, but I think that's easily the best thing he's ever done.


I've seen it and unfortunately I didn't like it at all. Like Dancer in the Dark it felt like an experiment in emotional manipulation, topped off by a thoroughly cynical last shot that was like a nasty joke at the expense of the audience. Like lambs to the slaughter, the emotional torture he inflicts on his female protagonists was about as pleasant to watch as as observing someone drowning kittens.

The only thing Von Trier has done that I like (actually I absolutely love it) is his TV series Riget/The Kingdom.


Yeah, The Kingdom is outstanding.

I don't buy the misogny thing, though. I don't think von Trier's examination of the ways in which women can be exploited is misogynistic, even if he does sometimes encourage this idea of himself as a kind of grinning, malevolent puppetmaster. As I said earlier in the thread, he's a great director of women and I find the portrayals in his films to generally be very moving and memorable.


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Post #: 25
RE: Melancholia Review - 31/10/2011 12:11:44 AM   
Herr Schnitzel

 

Posts: 205
Joined: 1/2/2009
quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7

quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

quote:

ORIGINAL: rick_7

quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

I'm always rooting for Von Trier to make a film that I will like and I never fail to be disappointed. Von Trier has one idea here (depressives will cope better with the end of the world than non-depressives) and he bangs away at it like a toddler with a tin drum. At least this film isn't as cynical and misogynistic as most of his previous films and he doesn't seem to laugh at his audience here. No matter how sincere he is though, there is not much depth to the film or its one-note characters. In terms of style this is old school Euro arthouse, without the wit or conceptual daring of a Resnais who similarly posed privileged people in expensive surroundings. The film is beautifully shot and has moments of visual poetry. Unfortunately all the most ravishing imagery happens in the the first 5 minutes.

Interesting review.

Have you seen Breaking the Waves? Very divisive, I know, but I think that's easily the best thing he's ever done.


I've seen it and unfortunately I didn't like it at all. Like Dancer in the Dark it felt like an experiment in emotional manipulation, topped off by a thoroughly cynical last shot that was like a nasty joke at the expense of the audience. Like lambs to the slaughter, the emotional torture he inflicts on his female protagonists was about as pleasant to watch as as observing someone drowning kittens.

The only thing Von Trier has done that I like (actually I absolutely love it) is his TV series Riget/The Kingdom.


Yeah, The Kingdom is outstanding.

I don't buy the misogny thing, though. I don't think von Trier's examination of the ways in which women can be exploited is misogynistic, even if he does sometimes encourage this idea of himself as a kind of grinning, malevolent puppetmaster. As I said earlier in the thread, he's a great director of women and I find the portrayals in his films to generally be very moving and memorable.



I often find him to be no more than a provocateur with a rather obvious box of tricks, though Melancholia at least didn't go down that path of easy provocation. I've never been moved by any of his films because I find them (Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark in particular) to be so transparently manipulative for reasons that I just don't buy. As I don't know him personally I wouldn't want to say if he is a misogynist, but I certainly found several of his films misogynistic. What is the idea behind Antichrist ? That said, I actually like him in interviews and I like his blundering unguardedness and honesty.

Despite all my reservations about Von Trier's films, at least they don't bore me. At least they aren't middle of the road art house cinema and they aren't stifled by good taste and there is vitality some sort of vision there, even if I generally find it lacking in any values that chime with me. I will always go and see his films, will probably always be disappointed in them and hope for the next one.

< Message edited by Herr Schnitzel -- 31/10/2011 12:15:35 AM >

(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 26
RE: Melancholia Review - 31/10/2011 12:34:31 AM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1886
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere
Generally, rather than showing Trier to be cruel to women, I think his films often depict women being treated cruelly by cruel it people, and suggesting this is A BAD THING. Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark, in particular centre on women treated badly by people who exploit their weaknesses and suffering at the hands of the society/system in which they find themselves, being rather animalistic towards then. The degradations the female lead of Dogville are hideous, but the small town mentality, that first welcomes her and then turns against her is the villain, not Trier. And the villagers are massacred for what they did and/or allowed to happen to her.

And as for any complaints about the 'depressives' in Melancholia, isn't THE WHOLE THINGon many, if not very nearly all levels a metaphor for depression anyway? The way nobody sees it coming at first , the way people choose to react to it when they become aware of it (freak out/become uncommunicative/try to pretend all will be okay and ignore the problem, which can be how people react to a relative or friend with depression or a reaction to depression, as can hating theperosn who has become depressed/thinking they're just seeking attention and need to get over themselves) and then how it ends up completely overwhelming everything, seeming to obliterate everything and remove all sense of hope for survival? Also the film begins and ends with the end of the world. People who survive a bout of depression and it's effects that are 'world ending' from the point of view of the sufferer are likely to suffer another bout...Melancholia 'destroys their world' again and and if they survive, melancholia can retunr to 'destroy their world again.

Given Von Trier's own tendency towards 'melancholy' is it any real surprise that he might tackle this subject artistically (and sci-fi is the logical home for a metaphor for a state of mind, is it not, eg, many see Solaris in that way)? It is a bit of a surprise to me that the metaphorical nature of the film as an allegory for depression itself isn't more prominent in reviews, given the director's publicly known medical history, depression often being referred to as a state of melancholy, and the title of the film (and the titular planet that suddenly shows up apparently from nowhere and heralds the end of all things) being effing Melancholia!

With all that in mind, somebody being depicted as apparently literally sinking into the ground ceases to be weirdness and just becomes a depiction of a mental state, that sinking feeling and or expression of the desire in states of despair of wanting the earth to swallow them up. And the end of the world as something 'beautiful' becomes a depiction of the (dangerous but potentially enticing)appeal of oblivion to someone in despair, because it offers an end to suffering. peace, or, to nick a line from Inland Empire, spoken to the 'dying' Nikki Grace: 'No more blue tomorrows'






< Message edited by jobloffski -- 31/10/2011 12:53:26 AM >


_____________________________

Yes, dreamers dream and doers do. But if dreamers DON'T dream, doers don't have anything TO do. Everything that is only here because people exist, only exists because someone thought of it., or in other words, dreamed it.

(in reply to Herr Schnitzel)
Post #: 27
RE: Melancholia Review - 31/10/2011 1:45:43 AM   
Herr Schnitzel

 

Posts: 205
Joined: 1/2/2009
Only Dancer in the Dark for instance depicts an American justice system that is pure fairy tale. Whatever system Von Trier is supposed to criticise is purely made up and has little relation to any real patriarchy that suppresses women. He stacks the odds against his female protagonists to a degree where it becomes comically absurd.

I wasn't criticising Von Trier dealing with depression or depressive characters. What he had to say just struck me as rather one note. Once the characters are set up, there is no development in their behaviour and there are no surprises ahead. Dunst's character sinks into a deep depression welcoming the end of the world and Gainsbourg fall apart because by having had a child she has a lot more investment in a future. We just wait for the inevitable with little that's unexpected in either characters behaviour. In the first half of Melancholia they are also surrounded by a family made up of one dimensional gargoyles. I love Charlotte Rampling, but she's so drearily typecast here as the cold bitch, which she's played a billion times before. Everybody seems to display just one character trait and I don't find that very interesting.

< Message edited by Herr Schnitzel -- 31/10/2011 1:47:41 AM >

(in reply to jobloffski)
Post #: 28
RE: Melancholia Review - 31/10/2011 8:13:14 AM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1886
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere
quote:

ORIGINAL: Herr Schnitzel

Only Dancer in the Dark for instance depicts an American justice system that is pure fairy tale. Whatever system Von Trier is supposed to criticise is purely made up and has little relation to any real patriarchy that suppresses women. He stacks the odds against his female protagonists to a degree where it becomes comically absurd.

I wasn't criticising Von Trier dealing with depression or depressive characters. What he had to say just struck me as rather one note. Once the characters are set up, there is no development in their behaviour and there are no surprises ahead. Dunst's character sinks into a deep depression welcoming the end of the world and Gainsbourg fall apart because by having had a child she has a lot more investment in a future. We just wait for the inevitable with little that's unexpected in either characters behaviour. In the first half of Melancholia they are also surrounded by a family made up of one dimensional gargoyles. I love Charlotte Rampling, but she's so drearily typecast here as the cold bitch, which she's played a billion times before. Everybody seems to display just one character trait and I don't find that very interesting.



I agree, he does take things to levels of absurdity, even comic absurdity, and I think that's kind of the point of how far he pushes things, it's just a matter of taste/opinion as to what people get out of it I guess. The idea of cruelty to people (mediated through female characters because it easier to fund a film of such a nature if there are good looking chicks at the centre of proceedings, sexist but true,) and it's effects on them and the hellish fantasyland the surrounding world becomes to those on the receiving end of this cruelty is a perfectly reasonable 'artistic aim' .

Not sure the realistic specifics of the US justice system are more important to DITD than the ideas/depictions of the way people treat each other/allow others to be treated/society (whichever kind or nationality) self promoting as humanistic but merciless to its weakest members when they need the supposed values of society to be true the most. The same could be said about practically all his films in terms of how realistic they are.

And the world may indeed seem to be populated by 'one dimensional gargoyles' to a person pushed to the edge of their mental limits by whatever they are experiencing, In fact you could say that justifiably about many Von Trier films in terms of how characters are presented in relation to their protagonists, but again, I suppose I'd be of the opinion that's part of what Von Trier does, along with the more often than not 'paragon of innocence' nature of his (usually) female leads perhaps being an 'artistic gambit' to make the suffering they endure in the story all the more accentuated.

Different strokes for different folks when it comes to films I guess.

< Message edited by jobloffski -- 2/11/2011 6:32:51 AM >


_____________________________

Yes, dreamers dream and doers do. But if dreamers DON'T dream, doers don't have anything TO do. Everything that is only here because people exist, only exists because someone thought of it., or in other words, dreamed it.

(in reply to Herr Schnitzel)
Post #: 29
BOOOORING! - 1/11/2011 12:51:21 AM   
SteveInVA

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 1/11/2011
The most boring, pretentious, pathetic movie I've ever seen in my life. It drags and drags and drags and then it drags some more. The characters are irritating, the story is a pretentious attempt at art that fails miserably and leaves you bored beyond belief as well as depressed and disgusted. Don't waste your time and money. I'd give it a minus 5 star rating. Totally stupid.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 30
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