Melancholia (2011)

57.

★★★★

Directed by: Lars von Trier
Written by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of a Lars von Trier mindfuck, Melancholia is a good starting point. While Antichrist had audience members fainting at Cannes, and stage-inspired Dogville may be too abstract for those inured to mainstream Hollywood flicks, Melancholia delivers a good measure of the sci-fi genre with the distinct visual style and bizarre narrative twists that can only come from the von Trier touch.

Making her way to the altar

Starring Antichrist‘s Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia is divided into the perspectives of two sisters, faced with the end of the universe as they know it. Justine (Dunst) is a newly-wed – unable to hold onto happiness for long, and gifted with a strange awareness of the intangible, while Claire (Gainsbourg) stands as the more grounded, and stable support on which Justine can lean on. But when the star ‘Melancholia’ makes it way on a collision course with Earth, the tables turn on these two sisters, and how they deal with the impending apocalypse is a compelling and engrossing watch.

While the premise doesn’t sound like anything you haven’t seen already (I mean, we can all agree cinematic apocalypses are overdone), von Trier has a way of visually tapping into the  rarely touched layers of the human psyche, evoking emotions and thoughts that feel new and surprising. To the sounds of Beethoven’s Ninth, and visuals that make you feel as though you’re experiencing a museum tour of a brain’s cross-section, Lars von Trier dishes out a frighteningly intimate yet cosmic-sized story that focuses on character depth and surreal imagery that could only be found in your most disturbing dreams.

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2 thoughts on “Melancholia (2011)

  1. fernandorafael says:

    Nice review. I found Melancholia to be a bit slow and most of its characters insufferable, but the visuals and music sort of make up for that. Other Von Trier films I’ve seen are Antichrist (most disturbing thing ever) and Dogville (loved the theater aspect but missed his point).
    http://fernandorafael.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/melancholia-2011/
    http://fernandorafael.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/antichrist-2009/
    http://fernandorafael.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/dogville-2003/

    • thefilmkid says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I thought Melancholia felt a bit slow at times but Von Trier has this way of making you feel as though you’re in someone else’s dream – catching these really surreal moments that are so visual and uniquely unsettling. Antichrist was so great, and Dogville is one of my favorite movies. It’s interesting how all of his films follow distressed women who get thrown into the worst case scenarios of their lives.

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