Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Great Expectations

2011. 136 minutes. Denmark. Directed by Lars von Trier. Watchdate: 1/10/2012
This is the finest cinematic demonstration of expectations creating reality that I have seen. For that alone I will extoll its virtues beyond (perhaps) what is fair. But there was something deeply disturbing but also exciting about that idea of expectations. It's like the dark edge of Charles Dickens updated for our time, but it's also sort of the anti-Secret (fuck Rhonda Byrne). 

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) is told not to make a scene before she actually makes a scene, Justine is told she is a workaholic before she actually does anything to indicate she's a workaholic, Justine is told she is not happy enough before she really does much of anything to justify that sort of expectation. Similarly, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is told to avoid going online to research her fears before we ever actually see her doing so and John (Kiefer Sutherland) - well in John's case he is such a swirling vortex of expectations and contradictions that it is hard to separate out a single moment that exemplifies his paradoxically simultaneous fulfillment and disappointment of expectations.

I must also commend the movie for its incredible refreshing (if also excruciating) sense of humor. I haven't laughed this hard in horror in a movie theater since probably…Errol Morris' Tabloid? I don't know but it really made me love the movie aside from all its other intriguing qualities. While Antichrist is more viscerally disturbing, this movie is far more psychologically and emotionally disturbing…especially because it insinuates darkness into your bloodstream without your normal defenses being activated. Of course, this might be because it's a white folks problem movie and I am a white folk. That I love it this much says a lot about my own identity probably. Best of the year? Well it depends on how you define year of course...

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome movie ! I love it in every single way!