Sunday 25 September 2011

Melancholia review

Melancholia (15, 135 mins)
Director: Lars von Trier
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Like Danish director Lars von Trier’s previous film, Antichrist, Melancholia begins with a dreamy super slo-mo prologue, presenting seemingly random shots of Kirsten Dunst on a golf course in a wedding dress, intercut with images of the cosmos and the earth crashing into another planet. This takes us into a lengthy wedding sequence in which Dunst’s depressive bride and her loathsome family are revealed, as their bickering takes its toll on her fragile mental state. Though this goes on much too long, and is frequently deeply pretentious, it contains many moments of merit, not least a fine performance by Dunst. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is due to pass by earth, and this is where the film becomes something remarkable, an existential sci-fi where Deep Impact meets The Tree of Life. It wouldn’t be a von Trier film if it didn’t go bananas at some point, and there’s a grim fascination to see just where it will go. And as an examination of depression, desperation and how people deal with death, it’s really quite distressing despite its indulgences.

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