antichrist

Review: ANTICHRIST (2009)

by Meredith Grau
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Best Bad Quote:
“Acorns don’t cry.”
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Well… Here we are in the mouth of Hell, trying to decide weather or not the very controversial Lars von Trier is some kind of genius or a misogynistic/fascist/egomaniacal butt burglar. The reality is probably a little of both. There’s no way to make this review short, so I’m not even gonna try. Here’s what can be said for the man: he makes visually stunning, artistically fluid, and thematically fascinating films, even if they can be a bit confounding. While the former two attributes can very much be attributed to his chosen cinematographers and editors, in this case Anthony Dod Mantle and Anders Refn respectively, the old Larsy-poo does all of his own writing, so those brain-lacerations your cranium will suffer during the viewing of this particular piece are very much his doing. Good or Bad, it is ALL Lars’s fault.
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So, where does Antichrist fall on the spectrum of Whuddafug? “Ummmm… Uh, uhmmmm…”
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The beginning, I will say, is magnifique: while a couple, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) make mad, passionate love in symphonic black & white, their young son plummets gracefully but violently to his death. As such, we are rushed into the great joke of mankind: just we are born to die (you’re thinking of Lana Del Rey now), so too can creating life/giving birth be viewed as a willful act of murder. (Congratulations again, Aaron and Dana Vaccaro). This is quite the compelling opine… The questions are, A) Does von Trier take this discussion anywhere progressive and B) Are the tools with which he chooses to weave or unweave this web of accursed human fate at all functional?
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Well, let’s look at these said “tools”: angry, grief-stricken sex in the wake of tragedy: acceptable. Penises ejaculating blood: dis-com-fit-ting… but, okey-dokey? Vaginal genital mutilation uber-masochistically performed as self-punishment for being a woman and, thus, the true vessel for all of this life-death nonsense. “Ummmm… Uh, uhmmmm…” I mean, between this and Nymphomaniac Parts 1 and 2, you and Charlotte G. are gonna get hella close. This actress has balls. I mean, not literally, but then you will see that for yourself. It’s clear.
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Listen, this movie goes cray-cray fast, and if you’re squeamish, I’d advise you to just avoid. Without giving too much away, essentially He takes She into the woods to try to break through the emotional damage that She has suffered at the loss of their son. She becomes increasingly obsessive, and He, in trying to save her, slowly learns that She has been doing research that, in her mind, establishes women as the source of all evil on Earth. (Note: evil is live spelled backward). In addition, She believes that Nature in general is a haunting expression of Hell on Earth. Well, He starts seeing animals with their bloody babies hanging from their wombs; she drills a hole through his leg and attaches a grindstone weight to it so He can’t leave her. (One more way to keep your man).
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And this is where ol’ Mr. “I’m the best director in the world” (real quote) gets himself into trouble. By disclosing what he interprets to be the pain of the universe, von Trier approaches the subject matter in such a warped fashion that the audience is left to interpret, for example, womankind as succubus whores and mankind as the underdog band of brothers who have to outrun and outsmart said wenches to conserve their pimp juice. They don’t really want to dole it out, you know. It’s those vile temptresses that are responsible. But see, in inseminating the masses, the men set all women free to carry out their earthly duties, which is to be faceless vaginas popping out more death babies in this, our adorable little circle of life. (Now you’re thinking of Simba).
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It’s no wonder this diabolical Von Trapp (“The Hills are Dead with the sound of Why”) has a bad wrap for being a misogynist, as in his films, he blatantly if unconsciously admits as much. What his intentions were with Antichrist, I can’t say. In revealing human frailty, he never takes the grey, lonely road of sorrow. He takes the red one and all that implies. It’ll work for some; ain’t gonna work for others. Is it okay for him to subject his audiences to his socially blind shortcomings? I don’t know. Does the confused ego that invades his work render it totally defunct, or can we read his exaggerated characterizations as a desperate attempt for the director to understand even himself? I don’t know. Is a selfish, self-obsessed director necessarily a bad director? I. Don’t. Know. 
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What I do know is that this movie gives you ample opportunity to see Dafoe’s penis– real or imagined– Gainbourg’s… everything, and some tweaked out and gruesome SpFX and talking animals. It will weird you out, make you think, make you cringe, and provoke parts of you that you perhaps didn’t even know existed. Now, there’s nothing I love more than a good eccentric, and I’m a pretty tough egg, so I wasn’t offended by what I saw in this film. I was, however, consistently touching base with myself to question whether or not I was I was being manipulated, condescended to, or simply taken on a pointless carnival ride in a phallus-shaped roller coaster car. With engorged ticks. Crabs??? Maybe… Did I enjoy the ride? “Ummmm… Uh, uhmmmm…”
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Von Trier’s just lucky I’m a cerebral little slut. I’m not mad. Not at all. But that’s only because I’m onto you. And also: Jesus Christ, dude…
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Rating:
4 out of 5 Fully Erect Eraser Nipples
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