Monday, 13 October 2014

Antichrist (2009) - review

This weekend Yvonne and I finally got round to watching the controversial Lars Von Triers film Antichrist (2009). We love movies and have seen a couple of Lars films before, so knew the kind of experience we were letting ourselves in for. He's not our favourite director, but we appreciate some elements of his style, especially (quite importantly for film) the visuals and the sound.

I guess Yvonne and I might be watching his films in the wrong order, as this is apparently the first in Lars' Depression Trilogy - we've already seen the second, Melancholia (2011), which is also visually and sonically great and a bit weird, but not seen the final instalment yet, Nymphomaniac (2013).

Antichrist had a most beautiful and heart-wrenching opening scene that gives us the premise. The locations used were simple, effective and beautiful especially in slow-motion. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg did a great job too - past interviews with them have highlighted just how gruelling the shoot was, as it's an emotionally extreme film. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Charlotte won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance.

Antichrist has several candid and extreme moments of sex and/or violence that make the film tough to watch in places. But it's in context and makes sense - just don't watch the film at all if you are not comfortable with those kind of scenes.

Aside from the subjects of pain, grief and despair (the three beggars central to the film), there are interesting theological references to explore. These include the darker roles of physical nature (the characters travel to 'Eden', but then refer to the nature that surrounds them as Satan's Church) and human nature (the actions of the characters both historically and in the present, consciously and subconsciously). The Pete Rollins (writer, philosopher & challenger of traditional theology) review of the film explores this a little more and is worth a read.

If you've seen the film, let us know your views in the comments.

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