Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've never been a Lars von Trier completist but I've always enjoyed his films - particularly Dogville, The Idiots and Antichrist (Ok, enjoyed might not be the right word), so I'd been looking forward to Melancholia since Cannes last year. My excitement was only further stoked by Peter Bradshaw's astonishingly negative review in the Guardian...

Bradshaw has never made a secret of how much he hates everything von Trier has done, is doing or will do (to the extent that it's pretty much pointless him writing reviews) but this one clearly had him riled!

Once again, Von Trier has written and directed an entire film in his trademark smirk mode: a giggling aria of pretend pain and faux rapture. The script is clunking, and poor Dunst joins Nicole Kidman and Bryce Dallas Howard in the list of Hollywood females who have sleepwalked trustingly through a Von Trier production. Even the spectacle is thin and supercilious.
Quite apart from the utterly nonsensical description of 'spectacle' as being 'supercilious', Dunst even won best actress for her "sleepwalked" performance! Luckily, Philip French was on hand to provide a second-opinion, half sneering and half simple plot retelling, that - as one commenter pointed out - got several of the significant details entirely wrong.  Thankfully, other reviewers less-desperate to smugly condemn von Trier's Cannes-Nazi-gaffe provided more ...uh... balanced reviews.

Either way, I was keen to see it. Now that I have, I have no idea what to think. I'm pretty sure it's one of the best films I've seen in a very long time but I've still no real idea what it was about. The failure of human relationships? Bipolar disorders? The futility of making plans for the future given that life is essentially fragile? Who knows?

I know that I'm going to be musing over it for some time though. A thoroughly thought-provoking film.

1 comment:

  1. yes. it was hard for me to formulate an opinion on this too! i loved charlotte gainsbourg.