Wow, where to start. A fantastic mess of a movie.
I’m a huge Willem Dafoe fan but he can really pick some stinkers. That I am willing to forgive him for being in both this and Boondock Saints (I almost didn’t even link to it, that’s how much I hate that movie) only attests to how much I have loved him in other parts in movies like Affliction and The Shadow of the Vampire).
Here, Dafoe plays “He” (it gets better), and Charlotte Gainsbourgh plays his wife “She” (told you). The amorous ways of He and She, which we see a lot of (there’s a full-penetration shot in the 1st 45-seconds of the movie), lead to a tragic accident. She is hospitalized with traumatic grief, something He (who’s a therapist, of course) tries to coach her through. He’s convinced a trip to their cabin in the forest will help, so the couple make the journey there. He could not possibly have been more wrong.
At the cabin we the viewer are exposed to odd, dream-like scenes, the imagery of which includes a half-born deer hanging out of its mother, and an eviscerated, talking fox (probably the most laughable scene of them all). When the characters are awake we see male genitalia bludgeoned and the effect that would have on said male “finishing”. I swear I am not making this up. Body parts are impaled, He gets into an unintentionally hilarious fight with a crow, and, oh yeah- there’s the female self-genital-mutilation scene we get a close-up of (this combined with the poster above- consider yourself amply warned).
This was a laughably bad movie for me, but one I am glad I watched. It could very well end up a cult classic down the road. The script stinks, and even the acting is sub par, including Dafoe. It is slow, and there are confusing (at least to me) Biblical references throughout. That’s to say nothing of the shocking imagery. It’s very sexually explicit at times, and as mentioned above, the gore is some of the most cringe-inducing I have ever seen.
If it does have one redeeming quality, it is that it is a visually stunning movie at times. Director Lars von Trier is clearly meticulous about how he shoots, and when the viewer isn’t being exposed to a blood-spewing penis, or close-ups that come off as trying to be too artsy, it is a very pretty film to look at.
This is an odd one- I give it 1 star out of 5, but I sort of recommend seeing it. Go in expecting a bad movie, and you will probably like it. It will at least have your attention. Plus I want people to talk about this movie with.
And yes, I used a lot of parentheses in this review.