Antichrist (2009)

Antichrist is the newest movie by Lars von Trier, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Plot:
After the death of their son, she (Charlotte Gainsbourg) suffers a nervous breakdown. He (Willem Dafoe) thinks it’s best to take her back to their holiday home “Eden” to confront her with her fears. Things get even worse from then on.

Holy shit, this movie is a complete mess. I went in, convinced that it couldn’t possibly be as misogynistic as everyone said it would be. But it was even worse. Apart from that, it’s confusing, illogical and makes no sense whatsoever. But it’s beautifully shot.

[SPOILERS]

So, to get the plot out of the way. They arrive in Eden and he discovers little by little that she was really mean to their son, putting on his shoes the wrong way round. Therefore, she’s the Antichrist. And she supports this theory since she was writing a thesis about femicide and now really believes that all women are evil. A fox, a crow and a doe show up in irregular intervalls. The fox talks. The woman cracks completely, drills a hole into the man’s leg, almost kills him, then there’s the famous scene of her genital auto-mutilation and finally he chokes her to death. When he slowly makes his way down from Eden, he is met by legions of women who are on their way to Eden to (though it is never said, it certainly seems that way) mourn her death.

Can you see the mess? If not, let me break it down for you.

It starts with small things: During the opening credits, which are beautiful to look at, we see the couple sleeping with each other, in black and white and slow-mo, set to “Lascia ch’io pianga” from “Rinaldo” by Händel. This lovemaking is juxtaposed with images of their son, climbing out of his bed and making his way to a window, finally falling outside. I would have no problem with that. Except that there’s a three second actual porn segment. And people, you know me. I don’t have a problem with sex, nudity or porn in general. But that was just so uncalled for… It wasn’t necessary and it just seemed like provocation for the sake of provocation. Which was met by me with boredom.

Then there are the scenes of her breaking down, while he stays cool and calm and collected. I wouldn’t have had no problems there either. But then he goes ahead and tells her that he wants her as a patient because, “Think about it, who could be a better therapist for you? Who knows you better than I do?” Which made me go like, “dude, did you get your diploma online or what? First rule of psychotherapy: No personal relations between patient and therapist.” Since she’s mentally ill, she agrees.

They go to Eden and the film becomes mind-numbingly dull. It’s raining acorns, he’s completely overwhelmed by the situation, her mental state deteriorates notably, he will not give up and get off the fucking mountain to get her the help she needs.

Then the carnage starts, half an hour of blood and decay and generally disgusting things, which never manages to elicit any emotions because by that point I was past caring about anything that happened in this ridiculous excuse for a plot.

The climax of the film is him slowly choking her to death, which was really disturbing. First, it was quite long for a film choking. Second, the camera remained on her face all the time and made for a really intimate feeling. And third, considering what had happened so far into the film, it almost seemed like a crude form of “putting her out of her misery and thus saving the earth from one more evil woman” which was particularly revolting.

That said, Defoe and Gainsbourg gave excellent performances, so that it’s even more of a pity that they chose to do this shit. And it’s obvious that von Trier actually knows how to make a movie – he just chose to do a plotless pile of misogynistic crap instead.

3 thoughts on “Antichrist (2009)

  1. Pingback: Melancholia (2011) « Stuff

  2. Pingback: The Lords of Salem (2012) | Stuff

  3. Pingback: The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015) | kalafudra's Stuff

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