Film: Mixed reviews for Melancholia
December 9th, 2011
Omaha, NE – Controversial writer/director Lars Von Trier is back with a tale about the end of the world. The Reader’s Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood from the Movieha podcast, with a review of Melancholia.
Ryan: Although his film made headlines, writer/director Lars Von Trier made his biggest splash over the summer when he said that he more or less sympathized with Hitler.
Matt: For the record, I didn’t need another reason to dislike Mr. Von Trier. His body of work was already enough.
Ryan: Down boy. Von Trier is known for his grim, nihilistic works of art and his latest, Melancholia is no different.
Matt: Even if I wish it was.
Ryan: I’m sensing you have some hostility here.
Matt: I wouldn’t say that. Hostility is too nice a word.
Ryan: Melancholia begins with an infinitely beautiful slow-motion glimpse into Armageddon. Haunting images of destruction that resemble moving paintings run for about five minutes.
Matt: That’s right, there are five watchable minutes.
Ryan: From there, the film is split into two halves, one named after Kirsten Dunst’s character Justine, and the other after Charolette Gainsborg’s character Claire, who is Justine’s sister.
Matt: Don’t worry, they’re both equally unlikable.
Ryan: Dunst’s segment follows her character at her wedding, as she mopes around and cheats on her husband of five minutes.
Matt: Yes, this movie features fornication on a golf course at night and still isn’t interesting.
Watch a trailer of Melancholia here:
Ryan: The second segment follows Claire as she cares for a downtrodden Justine, who, as it turns out, had been a depressed mess all her life because she was actually in tune with the impending destruction of earth by a planet named Melancholia, which had been hidden behind the sun and is now bearing down on our planet.
Matt: I wish I could have been hidden behind the sun instead of watching this.
Ryan: So, you didn’t like then?
Matt: Not one bit, my friend. Not only did I find the whole thing to be boring and inconsequential, it’s also repetitive, as Von Trier’s central thesis here is no different than in any of his other works: everyone on the planet is awful and wretched and life has no meaning.
Ryan: Well, that may be slightly overstating it, but I get where you’re coming from. For me, I don’t mind being challenged by a creator I don’t necessarily agree with. I found Dunst’s performance to be intriguing if a bit simple, and did really enjoy the look of the film, which was simply gorgeous.
Matt: Yes, but hollow beauty is really just another kind of ugly.
Ryan: That’s almost profound.
Matt: And it didn’t even take me two hours.
Ryan: Look, this isn’t for everyone, I don’t even know how much I really enjoyed it myself. But Von Trier is an artist worth at least contemplating. Melancholia is a mournful, depressive examination of the apocalypse but it is at least a unique approach to the familiar subject matter.
Matt: If unique is a synonym for unbearable, I couldn’t agree more.
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