An excellent article. Of the one's I've read, your best review yet. You really explain the mood it put you in and the thoughts it provoked.I think a lot of people have got confused trying to marry the What? with the Why? I think there's an entanglement of Whys that, once unravelled, won't shed all-seeing light on Antichrist. The themes and possibilities in Antichrist seem open-ended - in both senses of the word: inconclusive. Sometimes it's easy to see Wally in the crowd, sometimes it's hard and sometimes he's not even in the picture.For me, I sensed its depth without feeling the need to really verbalise it.That's why I wrote a sort of mood piece myself because trying to explain every action and image is a Sisyphean task.Again, brilliant review.
Well it's quite an essay, one I fully anticipated. To cull summary judgement out of any of your reviews is never an easy task, but I don't remotely say that in a bad sense, as it's clear you generally shy away from definitive positions, much to your credit. As I stated in previosu threads, I don't buy the mysogony arguments, as Von Trier's past work doesn't convince in this regard. It has been confirmed by those close to the director that he was mired in a deep state of depression when he conceived ANTICHRIST, and it's bleakness and brutality was his way of lashing out. It's a film ripe for all sorts of interpretations and it's prime for re-viewings (as you note yourself here more than once) but in the end it's like any other difficult film: it will appeal or revulse the sensibilities, and will always be seen as a vision of this most controversial of directors.As I noted in my own review, which admittedly was far different in approach than yours, beyond everything it's a wholly original concept, and love it or hate it, it's exceedingly powerful stuff, for me one of the year's best films.
Stephen and Sam, thanks for the kudos.Stephen, I'm quite glad you liked especially since you loved the film and I was a bit more tentative in my praise. I agree with there being much to untangle and that nothing may fully illuminate the entire picture and make "sense" of it. And that the mood it conveys, however unexplainable, is more important. Those are the grounds on which I wasn't entirely satisfied, while still intrigued - the prologue, epilogue, and brief moments scattered throughout were stunning but I didn't quite feel pulled into the main narrative, at least this time out. But I can see that changing with future viewings, that is if I can stomach them!Sam,I very much agree that the film's value lies not so much on the viewer's visceral reaction, or only partly therein. There's also a tremendous amount of focus and craftsmanship here, and you know you're in the hands of a master from beginning to end which is not something you can often say going to the movies, and which is a nice feeling to have whatever one's take on the movie is apart from that.
Correction: 'Of the one's I've read' = 'of the ones I've read'.I felt very much pulled in to the narrative and even more so the second time, when the experience was even more intense. Knowing what's coming maybe creates an extra feeling of dread.