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Sunday
Oct162011

Apocalypse and Weddings

Lars Von Trier has and always will divide opinions and his latest film Melancholia has divided me straight down the middle. The part of me that respects intelligent conceptual film making and gratefully absorbs some of the most beautiful, disquieting and sumptuous cinematography committed to celluloid, loved this film. The concept of a planet on a collision course with Earth also pushes every sci-fi loving button in my body. 


But then my parasitic critical twin emerges and cries foul, 'oh my god is this film really just about the tedious drama and overblown pomp and ceremony of wedding?' In many ways the first part of the film really is just that. Worse still the narrative presents a series of thoroughly unlikable characters that it is impossible to empathise with, there isn't even enough back story here to understand the tensions, depression and general discourse at hand. Ok so the mum's a bitch and the dad is a loon, the sister is a control freak and the bride is a conflicted manic depressive who doesn't love her new spouse. Just because these characters are played by the likes of Gainsbourg, Hurt and Dunst does not mean this pushes this above the level of an ITV drama. Thankfully the wedding is not the whole film and the thought of them all being wiped out by a planetry collision offers hope.

More importantly the imagery and intensity of the second half does redeem this film as the director finds his true voice. After all Lars von Trier does conflicted, brutal and beautiful better than any other director I know and no-one hear is miscast. I also appreciate we are't meant to understand or empathise with the characters, life doesn't always find an acceptable rhythm. The film is challenging for both the right and wrong reasons, but the cinematography is so rich and intense that even the opening operatically scored slow motion montage of the events about to played out, alone makes this film worth watching, (weddings aside). 

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