Movie Review: Melancholia

Directed by Lars von Trier
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling
Release Date: November 11, 2011

To watch Terrance Malick’s distinct, creative rendering of the beginning of the universe in The Tree of Life and then experiencing Lars von Trier‘s incendiary vision of the universe plummeting to eventual debris is to witness two artists displaying unseen audacity as they tackle subjects (beginning and end of times) that once seemed un-filmable. The caustic, operatic, haunting and celestial opening shots to von Trier’s Melancholia, which are set to the Tristan and Isolde Prelude in slow motion, depict a world, from an intimate perspective, gradually proceeding to its imminent demise. These horror-laden images, which are intimations of what will transpire later in the film, are surpassingly beautiful and an overwhelming indicator of the astonishing horror and gloom that will pervade the entire film. It is as if we are plunging into a much disagreeable state, one that anticipates the most tremulous and hectic occurrences to transpire. Melancholia is a headfirst dive into an abyss that assuredly glorifies the confusion and paranoia that is impetuously at work within the human mind. And by the film’s end, we realize that Melancholia is a remarkable and grim testimony of human frailty.

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