Antichrist

"Very Good"

Antichrist Review


Von Trier is a filmmaking genius, but this will challenge even his faithful fans. The expert direction, editing and photography are all here, along with two amazing performances. But this warped Adam and Eve myth is seriously hard to stomach.

After the accidental death of their young son, a couple (Dafoe and Gainsbourg) struggles to cope with their anguish. As a therapist, he offers to help her come to terms with the heartache that has landed her in hospital. But when they head to Eden, their isolated woodland getaway, the grief turns to pain and despair, and all of nature seems to conspire against their recovery. This eerily echoes her thesis on female nature, as events take a turn that's feral and terrifyingly gruesome.

If read as a metaphor for a couple dealing with grief, the film is packed with solid, provocative images and ideas. But what's on screen is so explicit that it's impossible to watch it symbolically, as Von Trier combines sex, violence, religion and instinct in graphic, lurid ways that are beyond imagination. The story's climactic fourth chapter is almost unwatchably horrific.

And yet it's bracingly well-made, with lush cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle that looks like a dream turning into a nightmare, including clever slow-motion and effects work that get us into the minds of both characters.

These telling touches cut through the more shocking images, allowing the actors to create characters who are vulnerable and raw, even when they turn the tables on each other in violent ways.

Dafoe is terrific as a man trying to do his best while struggling to avoid his dark instincts. His story is both a tale of survival and an expression of love strained to the breaking point. Meanwhile, Gainsbourg is simply astonishing in a difficult role as the shattered wife who finds it impossible to regain her equilibrium. But then, she's also descending into madness, something that's apparently not new for this character, and Gainsbourg is utterly unafraid to take her to some grisly extremes.

Obviously, there's a problem with a premise that portrays men as masters of their natures while women are the victims of theirs, so they lash out both at men and themselves. The black-and-white prologue and epilogue suggest that everyone has to pay for their sins. But Von Trier's misogynist storytelling is at least complex and challenging, using freak-out images and ideas from the start while somehow maintaining a gritty emotional undercurrent.



Antichrist

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 20th May 2009

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Budget: $11M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Zentropa Entertainments, Zentropa International Köln, Slot Machine, Memfis Film, Trollhättan Film AB, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Lucky Red, Zentropa International Poland, Danmarks Radio (DR), arte France Cinéma, ZDF/Arte, ARTE, Film i Väst, Sveriges Television (SVT), CNC, Canal+, Det Danske Filminstitut, Deutsche Filmförderfonds (DFFF), Liberator Productions, Nordisk Film- & TV-Fond, Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej, Svenska Filminstitutet (SFI), Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 49%
Fresh: 80 Rotten: 83

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Meta Louise Foldager

Starring: as He, as She, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm as Nic

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.