“Antichrist” is a film that will divide audiences. Some will not be able to stand it. This group will hate it with a passion. I can see the complaints now. They will call it needlessly violent, gratuitous, disturbing, and misogynistic. Those who enjoy it are the ones I would like to have a serious discussion with. As for me, I don’t really know how I feel about this film at the moment. It does contain moments of startling beauty but it also contains moments that are simply maddening.
The story follows a married couple played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who after the death of their child, retreat to a cabin in the woods. The film opens with the death of their son. As they engage in what looks to be fierce sex, the boy, only an infant, wonders to a window ledge and plummets to his death.
After the funeral Gainsbourg becomes stricken with grief. Dafoe is a therapist who takes it upon himself to help his wife through the healing process. He decides that they should through exposure therapy. This is where they decide to isolate themselves to a cabin they once took their son to. It is here that the film descends in to a strangely chaotic situation.
To describe the events that take place is to diminish their impact. I will say that it is certainly not for the faint of heart. The director, Lars Von Trier, certainly holds nothing back when it comes to brutal violence, and haunting images. There are moments that seem descended straight out of his nightmares.
I have admired Von Triers movies in the past such as “Breaking The Waves” and “Dancer In The Dark”. “Antrichirst” is going to take another viewing or two before I can really round out what I honestly think. The story and the images haven’t sunk in quite yet.