I hated Pulp Fiction the first time I saw it. The first Tarantino movie I’d ever seen was Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which is a decidedly gorier and altogether more accessible movie for an eighth grader (technically I wasn’t legally “mature enough” for either by the MPAA’s standards), although I was the only one in my grade who seemed to enjoy it. When I watched Pulp Fiction for a second (and a third and a fourth ad infinitum) viewing, it gripped me like few other movies had before or since. To this day it is still one of my all-time favorites.
Movies, especially great ones, often change from viewing to viewing, not because they are different but because we are. Though we now live in an age of Rotten Tomato blurbs and aggregated consensus, a critic’s most valued possession is still their written voice. With every review now posted quickly and then archived online, conversation on most movies usually peaks quickly when they are first released, and then dissipates just as fast. The only time afforded to looking back is the annual “Best of the Year” cluster fuck.
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.