A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits the town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away.
The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiraling, surreal rampage of vengeance.
A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Chloë Grace Moretz,
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack's development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack's point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork. Along the way we experience Jack's descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge - a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations. The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, yet presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale.Written by
Anyone else miss pre-depression Lars von Trier? I still give him Antichrist and even Melancholia, but the "just because" stylistic choices of the tedious Nymphomaniac made me yearn for a time when he had enough thought behind his unconventionality to give us his wonderful Dancer in the Dark, and enough humor to give us Riget. He was always nasty, defiant, and upsetting like only he knows how, but some things have changed.
Now we have The House That Jack Built; another film that, despite how different it is from every other movie out now, still manages to be predictable if you know your Trier. I often defend strange decisions and rule-breaking in film, as with Michael Haneke's Funny Games, but Von Trier somehow manages to make clear that the only reason he's breaking the rules is that he's Von Trier, the supposed arthouse emperor. See what I did with that shot? Aren't these title cards weird? Look at how oddly edited everything is!
We get "more of the usual" in other departments as well. The documentary-esque camera work (à la Dogme 95), the super-slow-motion bits, the jump-cuts, the lengthy lecture-like conversations, and the controversial scenes of violence and mutilation. The villain protagonist, OCD-ridden serial killer Jack, narrates the film nigh constantly, and despite sometimes doing us the favor of explaining to us what he's thinking and feeling, I don't know that he ranks among the greatest, most complex killers of cinema.
Matt Dillon is good in the role but like many a recent Trier character, Jack rarely partakes in any particularly human interactions or monologues. It's difficult to emotionally connect with the characters of Von Trier lately, especially when they start reciting whatever opinion or observation was on the director's mind while we was writing and felt the need to vent.
The movie supposedly alludes to his fiasco at Cannes. You know, that time when he apparently "understood Hitler"? I didn't notice this when I saw the film myself but I believe in the critics (there's definitely a sequence where he congratulates himself). It's nice that he got to screen another film at the festival after all, but the film in question may have made his future at Cannes uncertain.
In the movie, Jack retells a number of "incidents" from the past 12 years of his life, where he would slaughter women played by the likes of Uma Thurman, Riley Keough, and Siobhan Fallon Hogan - these scenes, I gather, haven't exactly countered the idea that Von Trier has weird feelings about women. I maintain that he gave us admirable female characters in pictures like Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark, but who knows? Did the divorce change things?
Listening avidly to Jack's tale is Bruno Ganz, never seen by the viewer but often heard making obvious observations, and/or notes which Von Trier no doubt really WANTS the audience to make during a given scene. Again, thanks for the assistance.
The House That Jack Built is just not that rewarding to watch. It's amazing how a movie can be so different, so completely defiant, and yet so completely unsurprising at the same time. When you're spoonfed all emotions and themes, and you've gotten used to the cruel violence and even the persistent rule-breaking within the presentation, what's there to chew on? Towards the end, the film goes for a more surreal (albeit at times just "random") approach and I find myself interested again, although it isn't quite enough.
Hell, the film doesn't even have Udo Kier. What kind of Von Trier film is that?
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