Iconoclastic Danish director Lars von Trier follows up his controversial Antichrist with this sci-fi disaster drama, starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
The opening sequences of Melancholia show that Lars Von Trier has picked up right where Antichrist left off – thankfully just in a visual rather than literal sense as I don’t think the world’s exactly itching for a sequel. Super slow motion surrealism makes up the opening several minutes with another gorgeous assemblage of images that will no doubt form the unlikely basis for television commercial art direction, as its predecessor did. After this beautiful and foreboding foreshadowing, Melancholia moves on to the classy-as-all-hell wedding of Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and soon it becomes clear there may be a little more Antichrist lurking within than had first appeared.
Melancholia is based on Von Trier’s personal experiences but, rather than the tumultuous aspects of grief and depression, this is more about how those that suffer from it are able to self-destruct amid an eerie aura of calm. That eeriness and calm comes to the fore in Melancholia’s second part (the wedding being the first), opening at the film’s deepest point of depression and introducing apocalyptic themes as a rogue planet, previously hidden behind the sun, threatens to collide with Earth.
Pitched as a beautiful movie about the end of the world, Melancholia succeeds. Dunst, in particular, excels in a performance that saw her collect Best Actress at Cannes, while the less that’s said of the Von Trier witch-hunt at that festival the better.