Sunday, 5 April 2015

Melancholia

Lowdown: The tribulations of two depressed sisters as, in the background, another planet is on its way to collide with earth.
Review:
Lars von Trier is one of those directors that, like him or hate him, creates strong feelings with his viewers. Generally speaking, his is not my kind of style; on the other hand, I do give him credit for Breaking the Waves,
one of my more memorable movie experiences from the nineties. With his 2011 film Melancholia described as science fiction, I’ve been wanting to give it a go for a while.
Melancholia starts off with a very stylish exposition depicting key characters and the end of the earth as another planet (which, we learn later, was named Melancholia) collides with it. That sets the scene for preceding events, which start with the wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) at the mansion of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Claire’s husband (Kiefer Sutherland).
How shall I put it? The wedding doesn’t go that well. First, the limo bringing the couple gets stuck on the tight bends leading to the mansion. Then there are all the various characters and the issues they’ve accumulated over the years, starting with the divorced father (John Hurt) and mother (Charlotte Rampling) and moving through best man who is also wife’s boss (Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd). All the bickering and issues seem to continue without end, leading me to wonder what the hell is going on in here and why I have to endure all of the above for the duration of this much longer than two hours movie. Eventually, and particularly towards the second half of the movie (that focuses more on Claire) it becomes obvious the main source of issues is the depression suffered by both heroines. Planet Melancholia, drifting closer and closer to earth, is just a too obvious symbol to the mental issues affecting the two.
I had a really hard time keeping myself focused on Melancholia; it felt insurmountably boring, slow and uninvolving throughout, no matter how many famous actors it featured because they were attracted into making an arty-farty flick with fellow big named artists. Add to the bill a way too jerky handheld camera attracting too much attention to itself in addition to its nausea inducing qualities. I had to take a break half way through, and it took a lot of focus to get me to watch the second half in the hope that things will turn more interesting then. They probably do, in the sense that Melancholia’s core message finally starts to gel together. However, they still don’t make Melancholia into a movie I would recommend in any way.
Overall: Melancholia proved true to its name in describing my opinion of it. I will be very generous and give it 1 out of 5 bored shitless crabs.

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