Film Review: Melancholia
Yeah, its a Lars Von Trier film.
To put on my hipster glasses (I say glasses, but I really just mean those 3D glasses you get from the movies. I popped the lenses out and Sharpie’d over the logo. Stylin’) for a moment, I actually really enjoyed Dogville. The whole “it’s on a stage” idea was simple and used subtly. Nicole Kidman wasn’t a barrel of crap like she usually is. Was quite good.
I fucking loathe Antichrist, though. Sure, watching a chick snip out her clit was pretty hot, but I could have done without the 2 hours of prenentiousness that surrounded it.
Melancholia seems to be trying to find a balance.
TL;DR Melancholia is yet another floaty, imagery-rich Von Trier mess. I didn’t really get it, but the acting was good. It looked good. And I stayed until the end. 2 out of 5 stars.
What I really had a problem with here was something I very much expected. It’s a big ol’ mess of “ideas” and “themes” and “meaning”. Things which my permanently sniggering brain simply can’t handle. I try to figure out what the movie’s trying to say, but I just end up feeling like the dumb, shallow little bitch that I am. At least I tried.
The plot is split into 2 parts. The first focuses on Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael’s (Alexander Skarsgard) wedding reception in a fancy-ass house owned by her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland). The usual wedding drama ensues. Justine’s divorced parents are bratty. The mother in particular is a fucking retarded, hippie dickbag. The dad is just a drunk idiot, so he’s fine with me.
Justine is a weird bitch, though. I’m guessing she has depression or some shit. They never spell it out, but bitch is crazy. That’s not the problem, though. It’s okay with me to have a mentally ill character, but the movie goes to pains to show us how much of a selfish douche she is.
After being mostly normal-sauce at the start, she just loses her shit and goes down to the golf course to take a piss. It gets weirder from there. She brushes her husband off, makes everyone wait multiple times, quits her job, fucks some random, and caps it off by ending her marriage before dawn breaks. Dafuq, bitch?
Part 2 concerns the appearance of Melancholia, a planet on/not on a collision course with Earth (spolier alert: it is). Justine’s personality completely flips here. When Melancholia is close, she suddenly grows some balls and starts actually, you know, talking to people and making decisions. Dafuq, bitch? Claire, meanwhile, breaks down. I mean, the world is about to be obliterated, so she has a point.
What good comes from this, however, is the performances. Dunst and Gainsbourg are mesmerising in their roles (no matter how dickish they are. Especially fucking Justine). Gainsbourg’s breakdown is heartbreaking (I think? I don’t have one), and Dunst during part 1, while being an absolute fucktard, compelled my ass off. Alexander Skarsgard is handsome as hell, and does a good job as the downtrodden Michael. Stellan Skarsgard (are they related? Wikipedia…yep. They are) puts in another good, obviously evil performance (that’s how he do). Kiefer is kind of a dick, though. As you’d expect.
Why I hate this movie:
I don’t like a movie making me feel like I’m stupid. I am stupid, but it’s rude. And I’m never really sure with movies like this (except Southland Tales. Damn) whether I’m just missing the meaning, or the movie isn’t presenting it clearly enough.
Justine is almost unbearably selfish most of the time. If the acting had been poorer, I would have been too distracted by her stupidity to care about her at all. She’s also inconsistent, which is goddamn frustrating. Let me hate you!
There’s some shit going on with a bridge that Justine’s horse won’t cross. It comes up twice, then when Claire is on her mad dash before Melancholia hits, her golf buggy dies before it can get across. This is never explained.
Ending is pretty fucking bleak, too.
Reasons to watch:
Good acting. Nuff said.
Justine quits her job pretty awesomely, too. Her jerkass boss has been fucking around some new kid all night, then tells her he failed and is fired. She slams the shit out of him. It’s badass.
Kirsten Dunst gets naked. Not sure if the long shot is her or a double, but we definitely get some boob in the closer shot.
Despite the openness of much that happens, it certainly is compelling. I stayed pretty gripped, albeit confused, most of the time.
And once the whole apocalypse thing gets going, I appreciated how the movie limits the scope to just Justine, Claire, John and the little boy at the house. The power gets fucked by the planet’s proximity, which explains why they can’t go online or watch news reports, but I think these would have detracted. It would have felt too movie-y. This felt just real enough.
Big, bold and bloated, this is a memorable, if confusing, mess of a film. If you want to be all cultured and shit, you could do a lot worse than Melancholia (seriously, don’t watch Southland Tales. I don’t care how much you thought you liked Donnie Darko, don’t do it). 2 out of 5 stars.