Lars Von Trier Returns With Sordid, Screamy 'Antichrist'
In this edition of the Two-Minute Verdict, have your first glimpse at (and judgment of) the trailer for Antichrist, the new effort by Danish provocateur Lars Von Trier. You may know him best for degrading some of the world's most respected actresses (Nicole Kidman in Dogville, Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves), but with his latest, there is but one objective for star Charlotte Gainsbourg: Keep. Screaming.
Exponentially more atmospheric than any Von Trier film since Dancer in the Dark, Gainsbourg joins Willem Dafoe in a woodsy idyll that soon turns wicked. Dafoe thinks it's just her medication, but her out-of-body premonitions and contemplative gape suggest a far more organic wackness. The visions become even less cuddly (and more NSFW) once said meds meet the vortex of her toilet, and soon a troupe of expertly choreographed wildlife flies, shrieks and hisses at the viewer through spooky quick-cuts and whip-pans.
I know, I know: Be scared, we're told. But I fear for more for Gainsbourg, climactically humped on a logpile held together with disembodied hands. It had to hurt at the time, and it can't feel any better watching it played back (after all, didn't Bryce Dallas Howard already pull off the same shot even more transgressively with her black paramour in Von Trier's 2006 Manderlay?). Moreover, is her throat all right? And will Dafoe give her the benefit of the genre doubt before it's too late for both of them?
This being Lars Von Trier, don't bet on it. But don't skip it altogether, either; you've got to have some pulpy, guilty pleasures this summer that aren't directed by Michael Bay. Maybe take a date you don't like?
VERDICT: Grudging anticipation.