Sunday, December 18, 2011


Movie Name: Melancholia
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Lars Von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgaard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgaard, Brady Corbet, Udo Kier, Cameron Spurr, Jesper Christensen
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

After the controversy surrounding "Antichrist", Lars Von Trier went in a different direction with "Melancholia". "Melancholia" tackles a doomsday scenario, one where a planet named "Melancholia" is on a collision course with Planet Earth. The film is divided in two parts and follows two sisters, Justine and Claire. In part one, Justine is getting married to Michael. During the course of the wedding we're introduced to Justine and Claire's universe, including their divorced parents, Claire's husband John, Justine's boss Jack and a variety of other characters. Justine is depressed and having a difficult time going through the entire wedding, something that becomes progressively more strained as the evening develops. In part two, Claire is confronted with the fear that her family life and life in general is coming to an end, since the impending doom of the planet crashing into Earth. Justine is profoundly depressed and seems unable to cope with anything, but as the impending end nears, she seems to find a new strength and resilience.
Lars Von Trier always uses catalysts outside the characters universes to create the dynamics that propel them, or that bring out their best or worst characteristics. The end of the world, brings out the clarity in Justine, forcing her to surpass her bleak depression state. Claire on the other end, fights to keep her family unit and everyone around her happy and content. Both sisters almost sit on opposing ranges, but come to terms with themselves and each other as the collapse nears. The film is beautifully shot by Manuel Alberto Claro, and the performances are fantastic, as is usual in Von Trier's films. Kirsten Dunst is a revelation, creating a character that goes from wide-eyed and sunny, to someone profoundly depressed and deprived of life. Charlotte Gainsbourg continues her path of portraying pained characters. Both make for an engaging dynamic. Though not one of Lars Von Trier's best, this is still a good film worth watching!