Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

I watch movies, I write some crap

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Advertisements

Melancholia

Posted by martinteller on March 23, 2012

Almost every review I’ve written was done immediately after watching the movie.  I like to capture my thoughts while the film is still fresh in my mind, clear them out so I can move on to the next one.  This is a rare case where I’ve had time to stew on it for a while.  When I finished the film last night, it was too late to start writing and I’ve been busy at work all day.  Finally I have a moment to gather my thoughts and put them into text.

What has all this gathering done for me?  Not much.  I really don’t have much of a reaction to Melancholia.  Usually with Lars Von Trier, there will be elements I really, really love and elements I really, really hate.  He’s a provocateur, that’s what he does.  He pushes buttons and stimulates conversation.  He inspires people to take sides.  Is the fact that this film doesn’t push many buttons a sign that he’s maturing, or a sign that he’s getting stale?

Okay, so let’s talk about it.  It might as well be called Metaphor! The Movie for the bluntness of its central allegory.  Lars isn’t even trying to disguise it, the planet is named Melancholia, for fuck’s sake.  So what is left to suss out?  Is it a good allegory?  Well yeah, it’s not bad.  You can throw reason at it (“it” being either a runaway planet or depression) all you want, it’s not going to change anything.  As in Antichrist, we have a failure to cure a character’s dire emotional state with logic and ineffective feel-good techniques.  As a study of depression, I actually found it quite satisfying.  Some of Dunst’s behavior feels rather contrived, and I don’t think the film needs such vile authority figures (Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling).  But overall, it’s a believable portrayal.  The reactions to the larger events make sense and feel consistent.

Opinions seem divided on which half of the film is better.  I didn’t care as much for the first half (which, for neither better nor worse, greatly resembles the Dogme film Festen).  Parts of it were very intriguing and it sets up everyone’s emotional states, but it’s also really repetitive and showcases the larger character problems.  The second half really gets into the meaty material with fewer distractions.  And I suppose I should comment on the performances… um, they were okay, I guess.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with anyone, but no one seemed that bad either.  I don’t have much to say there.  As for the film’s visuals, they were often quite astonishing.  LVT repeats the slo-mo intro from Antichrist with even more stunning images, and the film’s finale is appropriately powerful.

I’m still left unsure of how I feel.  I don’t have an enthusiastic love for it or a boiling hate for it.  Some things I admired, other things I wish were handled with a little more finesse.  But I don’t have any huge gripes about the film, I enjoyed the experience.  I guess I won’t be taking any extreme side on this one.  Mature or stale?  We’ll have to wait and see what he does next.  Rating: Good

IMDb
Advertisements

2 Responses to “Melancholia”

  1. JamDenTel said

    von Trier’s next film is titled “Nymphomaniac”…so he may be up to his old tricks next time, who knows.

    Also, very good review.

  2. Thanks! I’m not too happy with it, but I rarely am.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: