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I've never seen anything so painfully familiar. Every move of Justine, her every word echoes with the heartache of a melancholiac. And the inability of the others to understand this pain, their inability to feel it and understand - it only makes it more familiar to the ones drowning in this mute slow-motion everyday despair. After watching this movie I went home without saying a word, I sat down on my chair and sat there silently for about an hour. I like Lars von Trier, I liked his movies before, but this one was a headshot. In this one film Lars von Trier succeeded to show all the ultimate emptiness of the everyday rituals, the endless longing of a melancholiac and the unbearable helplessness of this condition - like a bulletproof glass cocoon around you, muting the sounds and making the colors dim. I vote "excellent", 'cause this film is closer to my heart than any other I've seen before.
Yesterday I had the chance to see Melancholia. I was a bit anxious
given the mixed reception here (either euphoric or very negative).
It seems the media are talking more about the disaster-press-conference-from-hell Lars gave in Cannes. Which is a shame.
Like always, Lars von Trier does not want to appeal to the general public, but in stead wants to present the viewer something unique and honest.
It was influenced by his own "melancholia", of which he suffered when working on this project.
I, for one saw solid acting and great directing from a person who carefully observes and understands human interaction. For me it works.
This movie is by no means perfect but it was thought provoking, and heart touching and that's exactly what a decent movie should try to achieve.
Thank you for reading my opinion.
Melancholia is LVT's Wagnerian opera. Justine is a mythological
creation. She is the white goddess, Diana bathing, la Belle Dame Sans
Merci, Cassandra tormented by futurity. It ends in Gottedammerung, the
destruction of the world.
The Cannes jury was right to honour it. In 2, 10 or 100 years this will be manifestly THE film of 2011, capturing as it does this precise historical moment, on the cusp of epochs. More than just an economic crisis, or even the end of Western capitalism, or the American Century, or of Europe - though it is all that - it is the consummation in fire of all we have ever known. Leaders and experts sit mesmerised and powerless, making reassuring noises, or setting aside puny provisions; taking shelter in denial or custom. While Melancholia and Earth act out their dance of death; gravity, the most ineluctable force in the universe, does its work.
Justine, being incapable of happiness, is therefore incapable of illusion. She has always known. Herself untouched by affect, by human assimilation or persuasion, she writes the killer tag lines which manipulate others. Having a damaged soul, she suffers from a disorder of perception - she sees things as they actually are. She knows precisely how many beans are in the jar -like those who called the top of the Dow Jones index, at 12807 exactly. On one level, she represents the spirit of financialisation, the final, hottest white dwarf phase of capitalism, quantifying, inhumane, ultra-competitive (seen also in Skaarsgard's brutal ad boss, and in the brother-in-law who paid for the wedding - "an arm and a leg, for most people" -he means it literally I think - chilling!) And, like the Sybil, Justine wants to die. She wills the destruction of herself and everything else. 'The Earth is evil.'
LVT is the holy idiot of European cinema. Much as Justine destroys her stellar career, then hours later, in the garden, consciously and irrevocably obliterates her marriage and future happiness, so LVT - in the most perfect example of parallel process - in his acceptance speech at Cannes compulsively befouls himself, his credibility, future opportunities, his film and all associated with it. (Poor Dunst, beside him. Did she always know? I wonder.)
Which brings me to Kirsten Dunst.Once the all-American teenage sweetie in some of my favourite films.(The US invented the teenager, much as the English Victorians invented childhood, and its richest and most creative seam of film and TV deal with this stage of life. In a way, America is the world's teenager; and all teenagers are Americans by proxy.) In fact, Dunst is German-American, with all the ancestral baggage that implies. (Read Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' if you don't know what I mean). Beneath the apple-pie sunny exterior of her teen roles, there was always something remote and uncanny about her beauty. And now, with teen / young adult roles behind her, this strangeness, this well, German-ness, is exposed. In the riveting opening shots of 'Melancholia' she looks like Marlene Dietrich - unheimlich, fascinating. Like la Belle Dame Sans Merci, she takes possession of a man through his unconscious: like the groom in the film, he will follow her, exchanging all that is dear - home, family and hope of happiness - for bitterness and despair.
In the scene in the limo, the earliest, lightest part of the story, she seems American, in accent, face, body, She becomes less American , more northern European, and ultimately less like a human being at all, as her story unwinds. Those who criticise the inconsistency in her accent are missing the point. The change is about the character, not her nationality, which is purposely vague. (In fact, in what country does the film take place? Would you ask that question of 'the Ring'?)
I get the impression that just as Lars is working through some issues around his German-ness hence the Wagnerianism -, so is Dunst, which must have made his Cannes performance doubly excruciating. (I hear she wants to be called 'Keersten' now, pronounced the German way.) For the girl who has been being other people superbly well from her childhood, it seems to me that Dunst the adult truly exposes something painfully real of herself in this film. ('Exposing' is the right word in every way.)
And she pulls it off. The film is stunning. She is stunning, and thoroughly deserves Best Actress. Bravo, Lars von Trier!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review MAY contains spoilers, yes. The movie itself DOES contain
The first four minutes or so are awesome. You can do yourself a favor and leave the theater after that for dinner and coffee. You can come back for the last two minutes save the titles. They bookend the beginning. The rest is torture. If you are a depressive masochist, you might find the middle part enjoyable though. I gave it 2 stars for those few minutes.
"It looks like sh.t. I'm shaken." These are not my words. It's from Lars Von Triers director's statement about this film.
When Lars Von Trier appeared with Kirsten Dunst at Cannes promoting his latest effort in tormenting audiences he claimed to understand Hitler. Maybe because this rather endless, self indulging narcissistic art-house piece about the annihilation of rural upper class Denmark had brainwashed him to the point of calling himself a Nazi and Isreal a "pain in the ass". Who knows. Maybe he meant to promote the film. It did not reach me.
His promotional efforts got Trier banned from Cannes. He is banned from my play list too after I have been bored to tears one more time with outdated art-house tricks that have ceased to impress me in the last millennium.
Kiefer Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg (they don't look like sisters) and others are working loyally with their tormentor. It's sad watching them waisting their talent though on this pointless journey. Udo Kier has a short cameo and is funny, as always, even in pointless surroundings.
The editing is bad enough to use it as an example for film students on how to make wrong choices.
Yes, jerking a camera endlessly and pointlessly can be done, even 15 years after "Breaking the Waves". Back then shaking cameras without meaning was some kind of art-house fashion statement. Now it looks like someone wearing the wrong trousers to the wrong party.
The implausible arrival of another planet, being observed through an obscure piece of wire until it finally smashes an idyllic pasture was great for two things: it ends both the endless camera jerking and the movie.
Even if this review will be stowed away deep in the bulk of this distributor's guest reviews, I'd like to warn you. The film leaves you in pointless depression. If you think that's a good way to invest your time end money, I can highly recommend it.
There's a serious polarity in the reviews for this film,and I'm not
surprised. If you've ever suffered depression this bleak movie will hit
hard, and you'll pick up on all of the subtle messages it sends out.
It's done so well it can't be anything other than achingly familiar.
The despondency, and the frustration the sufferer feels at their own
despondency, in particular, is well conveyed.
Unfortunately I think a large chunk of the people who've seen this film (and there aren't many who have, sadly) went to it expecting a slightly arty apocalypse movie. It's not a smarter Deep Impact. The (blue) planet Melancholia is just a metaphor for depression. Unrelenting and irresistible, Melancholia has the main character in its thrall.
For those who don't "get" this movie, no it's not a pretentious, pseudo intellectual flick. Rather it's a well crafted take on the fine detail of a subject matter that you have been fortunate enough to not have had to understand. Long may that be the case.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Melancholia was a movie I went to see expecting it to blow me away. I
thought: now here's a movie that doesn't have the mass-friendliness of
the average Hollywood movie, but at the same time actually has a nice
budget, and some good actors. Now don't get me wrong, I often find low-
budget films with fresh talent amazing, but with Melancholia I was
hoping for something that successfully molds together the Hollywood and
indie movie scenes. Here's what I thought of the movie:
As it opens there's a quite long, slow moving apocalyptic scene that I won't even try to explain. But, to be honest, I found it to be quite nicely done. With the occasional space imagery to me it looked like if Ingmar Bergman had made a 2001: A Space Odyssey -based short film. Wagner's music really made it an extraordinary experience.
Part I: The Wedding (no I'm not calling it Justine, live with it): At first it seemed like a pretty nice, slow starting, atmosphere building part of the movie (note that at this point I still really wanted to enjoy this movie), but as time went on I found myself hating most of the badly written, annoying, and shallow cast, and I was hoping for bad things to happen to them all, especially Justine, Kirsten Dunst's character. By the way, why does everyone consider her performance so great? Sure, she was good at playing an angsty character whose motives remain a mystery to everyone, but honestly, being either expressionless or having an intentionally painful fake smile on shouldn't be that hard. When the wedding scene was over, I thought, finally, now can we get to the part where this gets good?
Part II: The Generic Ranch: So, after being bored with the first half of the movie I was hoping for something a bit better. Well, I never got what I was hoping for. Justine just got a lot more annoying, we found out she has paranormal abilities, and people were taking a planet sucking out some of earth's atmosphere, probably taking it off it's course and killing everyone on it regardless of weather it collided or not really goddamn well. Not even Kiefer Sutherland's great performance could make me have any motivation for watching on. For the first time in my life I was actually contemplating walking out of the theater I was so bored and annoyed. Long story short, Justine was a total douche, her sister paniced and the world came to an end, and the movie ended. Oh yeah and there was that kid who did an even worse performance than Jake Lloyd on Star Wars ep. 1. Yes it was really that bad.
Okay, the very end was pretty epic, with Wagner's music almost blowing my eardrums out and a huge blue planet smashing into the earth. I have to admit though, when the movie ended, I accidentally let out a giggle, much to the dismay of most people sitting near me. Seriously, as well made as it was, it was a pretty silly way to end the movie in my opinion.
Alright, pros and cons:
Pros: We saw Kirsted Dunst naked a couple of times, and although I really disliked the jumpy, amateuristic camera-work, the movie was at times visually amazing, and not really ever over the top. Also, the idea for the movie was pretty cool, and I really enjoyed Kiefer Sutherland's acting. The very beginning and very end should have been made into separate short films because they were really worth watching.
Cons: Exceptionally shallow characters whose ridiculously small backstories were just thrown on to the viewers, mostly just average, sometimes painfully weak acting, and plentiful filler scenes that had no purpose whatsoever and that could have been cut down without the movie losing anything, while some scenes were just cut off completely (for example the impromptu sex scene with Justine and her husband, which, if correctly made, could have told us most everything about their relationship, and many more scenes that were just cut way too short).
Conclusion: I'd like to give the movie more points just for it's beginning and end, and the story that had great potential for a sci-fi - sporting drama, but I just can't. For the first time in a while I seriously had trouble getting through this movie without walking out in the middle. Sorry to all the people who think it's a great movie, but personally I think I'd seriously rather do the dishes and mow the lawn than watch this movie again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie shines visually at certain points. To be specific it shines
first five minutes and then the last say 20 seconds.
The rest of the movie is just cruel, sadistic and never ending torture by boredom. First and foremost, the lead character is not "melancholic". She is seriously depressed, I mean chemotherapy to electro-convulsive therapy class depressed. It is seriously not fun to watch her being depressed. It made me feel very depressed as well and this was just the beginning.
The family seems to be broken, but in a very boring way. Nothing much happens here except for people running away (I wish I did the same thing after opening scene, but I was hoping for at least some pretty pictures later on). Then nothing happens, then nothing happens, then nothing happens, then the sister suddenly understands the World is going to end, so she freaks a little, runs around a little, then all three remaining heroes decide to sit at their asses and to wait for collision.
Yes, there are some pretty pictures of the castle where the boring people live, but seriously I would rather watch another Miss Marple murder case. These movies are silly but at least something happens! Seriously I never expected to see another Armageddon or something like that but this bottle is completely empty. There are not even questions, it just frustrating wait for the end of the World so the movie may end as well.
I'm so so disappointed. If you were attracted by the trailer, you may go home now. There is nothing more interesting to see here. The trailer is misleading, it is pretty poster consisting of all the action in the movie. The rest is just cold, empty, freezing hell of boredom disguised as a art. Even the worst Lynch movies are at least an order of magnitude better than this!
Trier takes us for a ride. It's a slow ride, taking in the beauty of
the cinematography. It is at once a beautiful movie, while at the same
time focusing on the absence of real love between the characters - and
in the world. The movie hints at a correlation between the lack of
love, and the threat of impending doom that's present throughout.
I speculate that every viewer will take something slightly different away from the picture, because the movie is designed to make you think about us humans and our behaviors toward each other, as well as enjoy the work of wonder that the movie is. What you end up with is dependent of what you take to the movie in the first place. Trier's movies are usually adept at making you feel. In this movie you are left to your own devices. There is no inherently good person to root or feel for. There is only the state of the world. And the future of the human kind. Can you be bothered to feel for us?
Truly Trier-esque (10/10).
''Melancholia'' - Lars von Trier's best work to date. The movie is about the nature of depression and how 2 sisters go through it. Kirsten Dunst (Justine) accepts her melancholia by the time a planet that was hiding behind the sun threatens to collide the Earth, while other sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg - Clair) is afraid to face the reality and her own personal emotions. If you have any little doubt whether you want to watch this movie or not, you better don't, because this is not for everyone, and if you still want to see this then prepare yourself for what you're going to face. The movie is all about how Lars Von Trier sees the world, the people and the dearness between them. It's beautiful, it's real, it's disgusting, it's terrifying - it all depends on how you want to perceive this film. The opening and the ending scenes are mesmerizing! The music used in the film is taken from Wagner's ''Tristan and Isolde'' opera which fits the movie perfectly. Cinematography - amazes. Special effects, not for 3D, but are very realistic and breathtaking. Kirsten Dunst gives us her best performance to date, forget the girl in Spider-man, this is a new level for her. She finally proves us how good she can be with the right movie choice. An Oscar nomination is on its way... I'm not a fan of Lars and his movies, but this one had me at the edge of my seat to the last minute. 10/10
First off, let there be no doubt Melancholia is an amazing movie, a one of a kind experience. But it's also a strange movie. Strange because some parts are just so much better than others. From divine touch of genius to actually really rather bad. There are parts that are so strikingly beautiful that you can not help being mesmerized, there's superb directing resulting in amazing, almost screen transcending acting (and this is from the girl from "Bring it on" mind you), and there are parts were sound and imagery merge with such impact that you get blown away. But then there are parts that feels just the opposite, some characters are portrayed surprisingly flat and their dialog and behavior seems contrived at best, almost like they never got beyond a crude first draft in the writing. The mother and the boss especially could have been watered down and integrated with more finesse IMO. It sounds like no biggie but it's such a stark contrast to the brilliance you find in other parts of the movie e.g. the subtle and tender portrayal of the groom and his love and affection for his troubled wife. Regardless and in spite of these rather prominent shortcomings I was sucked in from the mind blowing opening and my emotions were once again stripped bare and exposed at the signature killing blow finale. As before with Trier's films, I stumbled out of the theater, all numb and profoundly touched.
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