REVIEW: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole
Directed by: John Cameron Mitchell
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay & play)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, and Sandra Oh

To know what you’re going through when you begin Rabbit Hole, know that the comedy is often found at grief counseling.  Yes, this is black comedy, or it pretends to be for a little while.

Adapted for the screen by David Lindsay-Abaire, the same man who wrote the play, Rabbit Hole offers little new in the now commonplace “dead kid” genre.  It weaves in and out through its 85 minutes on a journey to nowhere.  This is the point.  Grief puts life on hold for Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart.)  It doesn’t stop them from aging or any other miraculous time warp commonly associated with the term “rabbit hole.”  It simply keeps them miserable.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Antichrist

Antichrist
Directed by: Lars von Trier
Written by: Lars von Trier
Starring: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Much has been made of this visually striking, grotesquely dark film from Danish auteur Lars von Trier.  The rumors are true, almost all of them.  There is a talking fox.  There is a gruesome climax filled with not one, but two, genital mutilations.  If the latter doesn’t draw in today’s torture porn crowd, it’s only because the barbarity doesn’t fall within the tight moral coding and sugar-coated bloodbath of the Saw franchise.

Von Trier likes to think of himself as above mere mutilation for the sake of it, but viewing this film as a tale with morals when the content is so morally reprehensible creates kind of a paradox.  His film is at times visually striking, and at times brutally unwatchable.

It begins with a beautifully filmed yet tragic slow-motion black and white sequence of a couple (William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) making love while their son sneaks out of his crib and plummets out a window to his death.  Mr. von Trier is not above starting out his film with the most cliche form of tragedy: kill the kid.

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