A Review of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Keifer Sutherland, Melancholia is a movie less about the end of the world and more about the relationship between two sisters. However, if you are looking for a chick flick or disaster movie then this is not it.

In 1995 Lars Von Trier and a few other directors debuted a list of rules called the Dogme 95 Manifesto. It limited the usage of special effects in movies, among other things. Von Trier has since broken many of the rules but sticks to a few of them in Melancholia. In much of the movie the film is handheld and there is very little extraneous action. These two things along with the setting and circumstances give the film an almost fairytale-like quality.

Most of the film is set on the large estate of John (Sutherland) with much of the action taking place on a very well-manicured golf course. There are two parts to the movie with one focusing on Justine (Dunst) and the other on Claire (Gainsbourg).

The film wouldn’t be out of place in Sofia Coppola’s lonely rich girl trilogy. This might have something to do with the inclusion of Kirsten Dunst as she starred in both “The Virgin Suicides” and “Marie Antoinette.” However, Melancholia definitely shares other qualities with Coppola’s films.

Dunst and Gainsbourg turn in a great performances with Dunst winning Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. She should probably be nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal as a depressive and needy sibling. However, that might not happen because of the comments made by Von Trier at Cannes and the fact that not many people are likely to see this film.

Melancholia also features the father/son pair of Stellan and Alexander Skarsgard, Cameron Spurr, John Hurt, and Brady Corbet. You are likely to see a lot more of Corbet in the next few years as he is also in the critically lauded “Martha Marcy May Marlene.”

Melancholia has already been released overseas but will open in the United States this November.

9/10 STARS


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