Melancholia (2011)

Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Brady Corbet, Jesper Christensen, Udo Kier

It’s Justine’s (Kirsten Dunst) wedding day. But even though she should be the happiest person alive, apart from her husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), she is haunted by dreams and visions of the end of the earth, when the planet Melancholia collides with ours. Her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) tries to hold it all together, but is ultimately helpless against the overwhelming presence of Melancholia – both the planet and the mood.

After Antichrist, I was very reluctant if I actually wanted to see Melancholia. But the cast and the trailer’s aesthetics drew me in. In the end my fears that it would be the misogynist disaster Antichrist was, proved to be unnecessary. But I still only liked the first half.

The movie is split neatly into two parts. The first one is Justine’s wedding and I pretty much loved it in its entirety (not only because of Alexander Skarsgard). Von Trier has a very good handle on the family dynamics and he obviously has his experience with depression. That, together with the excellent cast, makes for a great film.

I also really liked Kiefer Sutherland’s character in this one, which is suprising because on the one hand when was the last time that Kiefer Sutherland played anybody likeable and on the other hand, judging from the other reviews I read, everybody else seemed to hate him.

Unfortunately the film doesn’t stop after the wedding and the second half of the film is all about a depressed Justine and a suddenly also depressed Claire and the both of them have so little energy that they basically suck you dry, too and it starts to drag and I just wanted it to be fucking over.

The film is visually completely stunning. Especially the dream sequence in the beginning which reminded me of fashion photos, was absolutely beautiful. And the Wagner piece von Trier used fit the whole thing perfectly, in it’s ponderous and dramatic way. But it’s definitely not enough to save the second half.

Summarising: It didn’t blow me away but it’s alright.

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