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:: Antichrist

‘Antichrist’ is one of the most interesting films to surface in 2009. It is certainly a film the will divide cinephiles. On one hand director, Lars Von Trier has produced a poetically beautiful on the eye drama, but on the other hand, the moments of true horror in this film make anything you witnessed in ‘Hostel’ or ‘Saw’ seem PG rated.

The one thing that you can guarantee about ‘Antichrist’ is that despite all its horrific ‘can’t-look-at-the-screen’ moments it is a film that will go down is history as a classic. It is also a film that will be discussed at great length by film students who will throw up the ‘poetic depravity’ or ‘unnecessary gore’ argument while intellectuals will try to dissect all of Von Trier’s hidden meanings.

The storyline of ‘Antichrist’ centers around He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg). While making love their son dies in a tragic accident and while He uses his skills as a therapist to clinically walk through his grief, She falls into a messy nightmare that ends up affecting both their lives.

Von Trier takes a lot of risks in this film. For starters the first few Acts of the film drag considerable, so much so that you begin to realise that Von Trier is going to need something awesomely brilliant to stop this becoming another poor attempt at the psychological horror/thriller genre. Luckily Von Trier delivers with a vengeance. While the opening of this film will be long remembered for its beauty, the clim will be firmly entombed in my mind for its brutality.

The only weakness with ‘Antichrist’ is that like a lot of things of beauty, if you scratch under the surface there is very little substance there at all. The story is weak, and there is not enough revealed about the characters for you to truly care what happens to them. While Von Trier’s originally and creativity sparkles, it’s simply not enough to blind you from the many flaws.

The one thing you can’t fault with ‘Antichrist’ though is the acting. Dafoe and Gainsbourg put in the performances of their lives. I just wonder how much their therapy sessions cost while they were recovering from their traumatic roles.

‘Antichrist’ won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s strong (and at time violent) sex scenes will limit its audience and while some may leave the cinema marveling at Von Trier’s visual creative genius, a great deal more will be left wondering why the script wasn’t better. Still ‘Antichrist’ is destined to become a deserved cult classic.