Review: Antichrist

After the loss of their child, a husband tries to help his wife through her grief and mental anguish, uncovering deeper issues and leading into a spiral of violence. With hints at the either the supernatural or insanity, Antichrist contains some beautifully crafted and well acted scenes as well as scenes of graphic sex and genital mutilation. Although Antichrist appeared to tell me a story, in the end I could not make enough sense of it to justify the experience of watching it.

Rated: 2 / 5

Antichrist doesn't tell you what to think about the storyline. In most cases I love this, it creates a richer experience as I discover the story for myself. In the case of Antichrist, this lack of explicitness left me perplexed. The character dialog and interaction is a small part of the storytelling, we're also given images, scenes and references that are ours to interpret. Perhaps writer/director Lars von Trier and I do not share the same visual and referential vocabulary, perhaps the images are purely there to evoke an emotional response and there is no logical semblance of plot development, or perhaps von Trier simply journaled a personal nightmare that has little or no meaning for me. Regardless of the reasons, at the end of Antichrist I was unsatisfied. I gained no insights and had no ah ha moments. The only thing saving the movie from being utterly boring, aside from the fruitless effort to make sense of it, was the cinematography and performances of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. There are some wonderful, highly stylized visuals and sequences, with the opening sequence standing out the most.

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