A couple lose their young son when he falls out the window while they have sex in the other room. The mother’s grief consigns her to hospital, but her therapist husband brings her home intent on treating her depression himself. To confront her fears they go to stay at their remote cabin in the woods, “Eden”, where something untold happened the previous summer. Told in four chapters with a prologue and epilogue, the film details acts of lustful cruelty as the man and woman unfold the darker side of nature outside and within.
As fast as you can summon the words “art film” then take a gander at the new release from Lars Von Trier titled “Antichrist”. Now for those who are expecting some sort of Omen meets Exorcist, devil unleashed ..Constantine-hunting beast film then look again. The name implies….well I’m not so sure now to be honest. On one hand we have a beautifulyl filmed piece that takes advantage of full wide screen composition often having subjects at both ends of the screen conversing and provides some great subtle toned scenery that may have a few cinematographers drooling over (or at least appreciating)
Some spoilers in the film are discussed.
Though on the other we have a film that doesn’t connect too well with audiences. Sure we have Willen Dafoe on our side but on more profound levels, the film is a showcase for some very adult filmed segments, some brutal scenes of violence and at many times scenes that just don’t make sense. I truly believe in a filmmaker who uses cinema to translate a deeper meaning into thoughtful reasoning, though I think in this case I’m more at home with saying “Lars .. I just don’t get it! Is the influence of European tonality too far gone for Us audiences? Is there a revelation that needs to be explored in internet forums and deep seated discussions at film philosophy class? Or is it easier to just wipe this one off as wasted time watching someone elses indulgence that doesn’t deliver a greet story?
To cut right to the chase on this one we get a few shots of Dafoes ball sack, some pretty believable masturbations scenes, a closeup of Dafore getting his d*ck jerked while blood spits out and a nice scene where actress Charlotte Gainsbourg cuts off her clit as an act of defiance. Anyone remember “Misery”? Well how about knocking your lover unconscious breaking” his balls with a blunt object, castrating him and then drilling a hole in his leg to place a weight thru it? How’s that for impact?
Yes, you say …you’ve got to to the extremes but what is the film about? To bring it onto perspective, the credits list the 2 main actors as “he” and “she”. So I suppose names weren’t necessary in this case. “she” is grieving over the loss of their son Nick who fell out of a window while the couple were making love. The fall was fatale and has left an emotional scar of the couple. Dafoe a therapist, has dedicated himself to curing his wife while she tries to cope with the anxiety, emotional despair and loss. This act embarks them onto a quest to relocate to an old cabin in the interest of healing. Classic therapist breakdowns and discussions delve into the act of building strength back into her emotional state. The solitude of the cabin provides this needed getaway as well as more opportunities to indulge in constant acts of lovemaking.
In fact there are whole scenes where our focals go without pants. But that aside I’ll just make the comment that there’s plenty of sexual encounters in this film. As a patient, Dafoe nurtures his wife back to sanity and breaks down analogies in the process. The film implies forces of good and evil thru use of wordplay but that notion is more a seasoning to the film than perhaps a literal transformation.
Lars is indeed provocative I’ll give him that. Though for those who might have misread some reviews, the intent of this film isn’t torture p*rn or “Hostel” experiences. It just happens to have some scenes that are a bit much for what we are used to seeing in the mainstream circuit. It’s also more than we are used to seeing from top name actors. All these “atrocities” are old hat in the Asian market. In fact one could even say they were borrowed but I wouldn’t in this case. The film will be hailed and condemned by critics as its just simply that kind of film. Rather than look for deep meaning and story cohesive “antichrist” is better to be experienced for what it is , rather than what it isn’t. Does this make for a great film? I’m not so sure, but I think its all a matter of subjection.