Dir. Lars Von Trier
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“Hold my hand. Close your eyes.”
Lars Von Trier follows up his shocking, hit and miss ‘AntiChrist’ with an epic of human emotion – wrapped in fantasy sci-fi spectacle… The opening is an incredible, mind frazzling collage of slow-motion scenes which perfectly set the apocalyptic tone for the whole film. There are images that will stay with you forever and show the director is at the height of his ‘art’…
Melancholia is a lavish and fascinating dive into the deep waters of emotion and feelings that fluctuate between us. It is peppered with superb lines such as my favourite (working in communications):
“What education is perfect for Public Relations? Why, none at all of course!!”
Newly wed bride Justine (Kirsten Dunst – looking better than ever in a low cut wedding dress) is a force of nature in the lead role. She is ably backed up by the rest of the cast who include her sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her new husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). There are key smaller roles also for Kiefer Sutherland (in a refreshing non-action part) as her brother in law who finances the massively expensive wedding reception of the first section. Random sex and strained relationships ensue.
"Who represents which planet?"
There is something about seeing a planet colliding with earth to the prelude to Richard Wagner's ‘Tristan and Isolde,’ that goes beyond poetic, referencing and imbues a sense of desolation and mood beyond the pop culture popular painting inspirations that many have criticised the film for.
Melancholia is split into two ‘parts’ which have the twin themes of Justine’s manic depressive behaviour and the coming of the a newly discovered planet which may or may not actually fulfil the portending dreams of planetary collusion…
Dunst does trauma well and is aided by a filmmaker whose vision is so strong that it sucks you into his wake kicking and screaming as witnessing doom and gloom never having looked so good. Packed with symbolism the cross over between Justine and Claire as their personas become twisted together (possibly by the gravitation pull of the new planet – named Melancholia) is a trip into the very essence of extinction – both of body and mind. Are we ready for it? Will we lie naked and bathe in the radiance of our undoing as Dunst does? Is there hope or are we tied into the seemingly random dance of death between our planet and another?
Watching the planet Melancholia approaching Earth from Trier’s nihilistic world view is extremely powerful and something which , as a Christian, was deeply thought provoking. Is the director really saying that life isn’t worth living? Melancholia is a great companion piece to view with The Tree of Life which delves into similar metaphysical territory and leaves you with very differing emotions.
Melancholia isn’t a film for anyone looking for a happy ending – this is the end of the world… The question is – how will you deal with it? It looks amazing whatever your thinking on the impending Armageddon – especially in high definition.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
5 – Life ends... in some fine style!
"Kirsten Dunst - lovely"