I finally watched Lars von Trier’s Antichrist on the box tonight.
Plot– A couple’s infant son dies in a, frankly, ridiculous accident. (Yes, yes, yes, I know, OK? Despair at a horrible mother sticking his shoes on backwards, as we learn later, might have drove him to make like a lemming). Afterwards shrink Dafoe treats his wife (Gainsbourg) for grief. They go off to the spooky old woods for a bit of a R&R and, predictably, go yumpy.
Synopsis– Good opening, nicely shot with great music. Minor quibble- Dafoe and Gainsbourg’s cavorting look superimposed in front of the washing machine.
Kid launches himself out of a Window. Though, how the hell did their very young kid get the window open? I was a pretty mischievous and clever kid and I never managed that kind of manual dexterity.
Funeral, talking, blah, blah, blah, then off to the woods.
Yak, yak and bonk, bonk for an hour or so.
Finally- conk, splat, chock, snip, gurgle and whoosh. In that order.
Misogynistic? After listening to Dafoe’s character waffle on kindly, doctorly and perfectly husbandly, even I wanted to brain the smug, bizarrely sane (considering the circumstances), male doink, AS WELL AS the psycho-wife.
Philosophical treatise on Christianity, Satan and nature? Yeah, sure, right- that old saw. Hellish Medieval woodcuts, The Tree, Hell and Damnation, Eve Zzz. More tired, old, over-used Abrahamic devices.
Verdict? It’s an OK, grownup horror, but with the “overbearing aromas of pretentious rubbish“. Three chainsaws to von Trier for making the effort to turn what is undoubtedly an iffy vanity project into a passable art house, horror flick. But please, all you auteur movie-makers out there- no more handheld, fake, shaky-cam Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield pseudo-realism. It’s tired and as horribly done-to-death as The Matrix slo-mo cool-stroll. There was also an annoying and intrusive overuse of atmos. However, since I’m more of a giallo man myself, I’m willing to concede that perhaps it’s my own taste that’s in question.
Not a pizza night movie then, or a cinema movie with mates (unless they are posh serial-killers) and definitely not a romantic night in. More a DVD evening for Criterion-type beret wearers (the ones who aren’t actually chicken, that is).
Also, thanks Film 4 for a long and detailed sodding warning after every single ad-break. Thank you NANNY.