I decided to watch Antichrist despite I’m not very fond of Lars Von Trier’s work, for being too dense, symbolic and dramatic.
Today, I haven’t yet decided whether I liked it much or not, for there are many things which didn’t convince me at all. Some aspects and details in the film are outstanding but some others aren’t well sorted out, in my humble opinion of course.
Antichrist starts with an amazing and visual prologue, with the tragic death of the baby, helped by many coincidences, which cause him to jump throw the window while his parents are making love without noticing anything around.
Thus the first act starts, with She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) collapsing during the funeral. Admitted to hospital, she gets plenty of drugs prescribed, something He (Willem Dafoe), as a therapist, does not agree with, as is in human nature common to feel grief after such loss and the circumstances involved.
Soon arguments follow, He wants to start an intense therapy for her relief although she doesn’t feel well about it, She reproaches they never got his attention before and now he wants to know about her, now that she’s sick. Anyway, eventually she accepts and the starting point to clarify is to find out what she fears most.
She starts to develop a maniac behavior very close to bipolar disorder: sometimes she’s in pain and feels weak, others she starts self-inflicting pain, and sometimes she harasses him until she gets quick and wild sex. He starts worrying about this interest conflict in therapy, as he’s not able to get her under control and constantly sex is interrupting therapy, and pushes for finding a fear. She confesses something very contradictory, she fears the woods, however she was always trying to spend time in the old cabin hey own in the middle of the woods, thus He decides it’s time to spend some time there and work out on her fears and focus on therapy there.
At the cabin things will get worse gradually, He will soon realize something is going wrong, not only with his wife, but with Nature itself, which seems to be aggressive and hostile.
Antichrist is not a movie about Satan, but about the evil, not as possession either, but as how evil can make its place into humans, how evil can influence and transform people, and how evil can be disguised into insanity as well.
The characters are performed amazingly by Dafoe and Gainsbourg, and the way situation change as to confront them in a tough duel is amazing.
One of Lars Von Trier’s most remarkable features is to be able to raise controversy among audience and as far as I remember, Antichrist was very criticized for adult content and hard scenes. Well, sexual content is very present during the footage, but it adds meaning to the story, the way sex develops is significant in terms of the couple sickening relationship, but yes, I must admit is way far from enough.
On the other hand regarding hard scenes, by know you’ve probably heard already about genital mutilation, seems that people only focuses on the morbid aspects, same as when I saw La Pianiste, by Michael Haneke, nobody was able to tell me something about the plot, just about the razor scene…This self-mutilation occurs for some reasons you will find about, and it’s just an addition to the story and to the chaos of the moment.
The end and the epilogue, are the weakest parts in the film, some of the facts He discovers of her wife are very sudden, seems that she had in fact been a stranger to him as not being able to notice several sings of madness in her before, and the very last scene, it’s not my intention to spoil at all, the two of us we were watching the movie, understood different messages.
Antichrist honestly, is not a masterpiece, but a crap either. Guess is one of these movies I should review from time to time as to discover many details to help my understanding of the story.