|In Stores | Top Sales | Index | DVD/Movie Archive|
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Graphic nudity, sexual content and language
Drama, Science Fiction
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Brady Corbet, Udo Kier
Lars Von Trier
Lars Von Trier
Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide into the Earth.
Melancholia (2011) | Review
The Old Will Pass Away
Jason C. Stanley
The film's prologue is a collection of images set to rich, beautiful music—the overture to Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. It's almost as if Von Trier had closed his eyes while listening to this music and these are the images that flashed before his eyes. But, the images—a moon rising; a bride running and being captured by branches; a bride floating in some body of water; a woman walking through the forest; a boy with a stick—are not that random. Von Trier, in the film's beginnings, is using the tool of foreshadowing, giving the viewer hints to what is going to happen. This prologue is an invitation. The music chosen is enough to draw the viewer in. Von Trier has set the stage for a beautiful, complex, and apocalyptic narrative.
The story starts with the younger of the two sisters, Justine. We meet Justine and her groom Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) two hours late to their own reception. As the party unfolds in all the traditional ways, Justine begins to disappear. She explores the property outside, she puts her nephew to bed, she attempts to have a conversation with her anti-marriage mother.The whole time the camera jerks from one angle to the next, as if it is a home videorecording. The fun, light-hearted mood at the beginning of the film begins to slip away.
Every encounter Justine has during the scenes at the reception seems to be a tug of war. While Justine is slipping away, everyone else is desperately trying to pull her toward love, including her new husband Michael. It is here that we are surprised that Kristen Dunst was overlooked by the Academy Awards.This is by far the best role Dunst has portrayed yet. At the reception scenes, almost the first half of the film, we see in Dunst's eyes life slowly being extinguished. We become more intrigued by Justine and what her story is. The greatest tug of war, and perhaps the more painful, is here in Justine.While her eyes testify to her slipping away, her face is trying to show happiness and joy. Dunst's performance is gripping and, at the same time, heartbreaking as she makes Justine's melancholia be very real for the viewer.
Throughout this first half of the film, Justine continues to be drawn to this new star she observes in the sky. The star is actually the planet Melancholia, larger than Earth and headed for collision with Earth. This is the hinge of the film. We have witnessed the emotional end of Justine. Now Von Trier turns his attention to the end of the world.
The second half of the film is devoted to Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Claire commissions herself to take care of her now depressed sister. Von Trier himself has struggled with depression and it only adds a level of intimacy that contributes to the cinematic excellence that is this film. Again, Dunst's performance is riveting.
Continue: 1 2
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
More About Melancholia
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate