Danish director Lars von Trier has never been a stranger to controversy, be it some badly misinterpreted attempts at humor at Cannes in 2011, or the frightening and often strikingly beautiful subject matter in front of his poetic lens, as is the case with this, his 2009 effort, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Antichrist masterfully combines von Trier's trademark haunting dreamscape visuals within horrible events, equating to an effective tone of general unease throughout the film. The director proclaimed himself the best in the world at his craft after a screening of tonight's review in Cannes, and proclaimed that everyone was his guest, and not the other way around, after being asked to justify the film's existence. Though I'm in no position to confirm or deny his admirably boastful claims at this point in time, I will say this: Love or hate his movies, they have a knack for sticking around in your head long after you've walked away from the screen, and if that isn't great film making, I'm not sure what classifies as such.
...Like combining to form a Voltron made of ugly.
We begin with a voyeuristic explicit shower fuck between he(Dafoe) and she(Gainsbourg), with both lust-ravaged fornicators so thoroughly engulfed in each other's fuck that they fail to notice her toddler son climbing out of his crib, unlatching the child gate, and doing a window swan dive into the snowy winter night to his untimely end. Nothing kills a guy's hard on like accidental death, and he, in true therapist fashion, volunteers to see her through her immense, crippling grief, offering his professional analysis along the way, as he's unsure of her current psychoanalyst's merit. A guy'll go the extra mile for dimepiece. When open discussion and prescription drugs prove mostly fruitless in her recovery, he suggests therapy through exposure, where she returns to the cabin where she'd worked on her thesis on the killing of women throughout history the previous summer, a gloomy place called "Eden", to identify and face her innermost fears, head on. On the trip, he encounters a fearless doe with a stillborn fawn hanging out of it's womb. Then he awakens to a hand full of blood-engorged ticks, and watches a fox eat it's own entrails before stating to him, matter-of-factly, that "Chaos reigns." Not a good sign, as Nancy Loomis used to say.
Even as a child, Campbell had difficulty recognizing the ledge(regional joke).
Once he discovers her thesis notes hidden away in the attic, he begins to see the entire picture, briefly quelling his suspicions long enough for a surreal nature-quickie among massive tree roots and reaching hands. Her extensive study of misogynistic violence through the ages lead her to the unhinged conclusion that all women are inherently evil (!), while he finds multiple snapshots of her son with his shoes on the wrong feet, explaining the deformity noted in the boy's autopsy report. I dunno, seems like the kinda gal that probably saw her son go out the window, and said nothing, grooving on the evil of the moment, instead. She makes the scene and pulverizes his egg bag with a block of wood, masturbates him until he ejaculates blood, then bolts a grindstone to his leg to prevent his escape. They play hide and seek in a foxhole, and she removes her own clitoris with a large pair of shears, while a fox, crow, and deer look on. She stabs him in the back with the scissors, earning herself hot strangulation death and a viking's funeral just outside the cabin.While making his way out of the forest, subsisting on berries, he is overcome by a vision of a multitude of faceless women climbing a hill, towards him...
"Yeah well, I haven't been feeling so hot lately..."
Dafoe and Gainsbourg are both riveting on the screen, and von Trier's lens revels in their mutual unattractive-ish quality, giving us long uncomfortable nude stretches with both, as well as the explicit sex scene that had to be near the bottom of the unwritten list of things I'd secretly hoped I'd never see in a movie. Like, bleeeech, man. Definitely neck-and-neck with Dafoe-in-drag, tongue kissing fat guys in Troy Duffy's Boondock Saints (1999) on the "Things That Cannot be Unseen" chart. Needless to say, like all else I've seen of the director's work dating back to 1994's The Kingdom, I naturally loved it, and if you're in for a disturbingly good time, majestically shot and powerfully acted, then you'll do well to queue this one up for yourselves, with all speed. Four Wops, and very highly recommended, indeed...
The woodland creatures gathered in silent vigil around Snow White while the dwarves scoured the forest floor for her clitoris.