Directed by: Lars von Trier
Written by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, and John Hurt
With a reputation built on shocking even those who know he’s after more than that, Lars von Trier is set to debut his latest, “A beautiful movie about the end of the world,” at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Melancholia is the act following Antichrist, the director’s disturbingly violent take on the horror genre.
All of von Trier’s fictional films since 1991’s Europa have centered on women being repressed by men, one of whom is often von Trier himself. Melancholia looks no different, with Kirsten Dunst primed to take the role of Justine, a woman about to be married when the world begins to end.
A planet has emerged from behind the sun and is set on a collision course with Earth. The trailer plays off the wedding angle as well as this science fiction turn, hoping to attract both audiences. However, von Trier’s weird cinematic touches are everywhere, which gives the impression that this was a marketing nightmare. The beautiful visuals are no surprise, but much of the dialogue is off-putting when listened to out of context.
Special Effects are not something von Trier has dabbled in before, yet movies like Dogville and Antichrist are more gorgeously filmed than most any glossy Hollywood product. With Melancholia, the director turns on the computer more than he ever has, as energy emerges from his star’s fingers at one point. He’s attempting to use special effects for his weirdness, which will be good for us, and never-ending melancholy for that marketing team.
Highs: Aside from The Tree of Life, this trailer has some of the most promising visuals of the year. The fog enveloping charging horses and the one where Charlotte Gainsbourg carries a child in from hail burn in the memory as most of von Trier’s imagery does. People will always be skeptical about his movie’s real meaning until it actually comes out, but they never question his gift as a visual artist.
Lows: The dialogue is mostly hit or miss. Except for the line “Life is only on Earth, and not for long,” the concept of the impending planet collision never really catches fire in the trailer. Hopefully von Trier is making a statement about how awful dialogue is in sci-fi trailers are instead of actually putting it in his movie.