Antichrist (2009)

Many things were said about (and often against) Lars von Trier’s Antichrist last year, and they’re still being said; there’s a particularly good debate going on right now on the Criterion Collection Facebook page about it. Having decided somewhere around the time Dogville came out that Lars had run out of anything interesting to say, I had no particular interest in seeing it when it finally made an appearance in cinemas here at the end of last year. Still, when I saw it for loan at the library I decided I might as well see what the fuss was about… cos the fuss made it sound like one of the all-time blood-drenched epics, you know, Charlotte Gainsbourg going at herself with scissors and all of that, stuff for the strongest stomachs only. I was prepared to dislike this film, to be honest, given that I kind of gave up on von Trier ages ago, and given that the stuff all the critics seemed to be screaming about made the film sound like he was just straining to be offensive; I didn’t expect much in the way of depth from what appeared to be contrived controversy. I also didn’t expect it to be quite so amazingly boring, either. I mean, yeah, the stuff people were complaining about is ugly, but god/dess what acres of dullness surround those bits… most of which are in the second half of the film so it’s a mighty slog to even get to them. It was clearly nothing if not brave of Willem Dafoe and (even more so) Charlotte Gainsbourg to take the film on, but that still doesn’t mean the end result was particularly worth it… and while it looks about as lovely as digital cinematography can, that’s not enough.

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