Saturday, 28 January 2012

REVIEW: Melancholia

One of my favourite directors Lars Von Trier makes one of the most interesting and beautiful films of 2011 in what only can be described as a pre-apocalyptic masterpiece.

I won't babble on about how much I swoon over Von Trier films but his work has never been for everyone. It's often slow yet energetic, meticulous yet rough, controversial yet realistic and the main element being that he is never afraid, a character trait that means his intellectual and artistic methods shine through his work and Melancholia is proof of this.

The film on the surface is about a depressive young lady getting married and the subsequent arrival of a hidden planet on a one way course to collide with Earth. Dunst is quite stunning as the crying bride and Gainsbourg plays the loving sister perfectly with every actor in it, even Sutherland, giving their best performance that we've seen for a while.

The opening sequences, and a lot of the movie are treated like living paintings. The scenes at the beginning are apparently famous works of art and they have to be the most beautiful shots I've ever seen in cinema, something incredible from a Dogma Dane. The slowly deteriorating mental health of Dunst is a sad yet beautiful thing to watch, literally melancholia, she has a horrible mother, a strange father and a husband whom she won't allow herself to love.

However, as the planet moves towards them, Dunst makes it clear that in her mania there is clarity, that by being mentally unhealthy you are almsot invulnerable to anything because of your vulnerability. If you're at your lowest, then there's nowhere else to go, even if it is the end of the world. In the mounting chaos surrounding them, Dunst grows calmer and more logical whereas Gainsbourg gets panic attacks and doesn't know how to deal with the situation. The two of them switch places and Dunst has accepted her fate. Melancholia isn't anything you can run from - it will find you.

Everything here is perfect, the story and the characters as well as the subliminal messages about the economy, sexuality, fate, space, time and God all in one film about a wedding. Don't get me wrong though, this won't appeal to everyone and it is quite slow, sometimes a tough watch and often you just want things to move forward - however it is cinema as art and will stay in your mind for days to come. I can't believe how great Dunst looks either and, if you're bothered, you see her naked. Maybe just go see it for that.

Rating: 9/10

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