My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 6.6
IMDB link: Antichrist
Wow, I feel so inferior writing about this movie… If you want to read a great dialogue on the nuances and underlining themes in this movie try this:
The fantastically complicated Danish director, Lars von Trier, starts his ‘Depression Trilogy’ with this physically, mentally and morally exhausting film about… for me, the narcissistic and obsessive smothering of ‘natural’ grief. Melancholia followed in 2011 and lastly he added the two volumes of Nymphomaniac.
Several sources describe this film as ‘torture porn’, while others argue for the complete removal of focus from the psycho-sexual to the basic nature of these characters that are merely called ‘He’ and ‘She’. In fact, it is very significant to me that these characters are actually nameless as it points to the universality of the characters. What I mean by that is that I think that Von Trier tries to include the whole of humankind by excluding names for the two main characters. We are all inherently just like them.
I think that it is very important to realize that the death of their son was not the reason for all the madness. And although it seems like it, She may not be the most disturbed character in this film. Yes, I believed the death of the son was a catalyst that maybe quickened the downwards spiral, but both the parents’ psychological state at the death is questionable. Not only does she see what is about to happen, but the baby monitor is turned off, all these things point to the inherent narcissistic state of both the parents.
As a therapist, he makes a crucial mistake by not evaluating his own grief, but rather projects his academic ideas of the perfect grief process onto her. This almost god-complex that the man suffers from, causes him to take her from the hospital and then eventual to the outdoors to face her fears. He becomes obsessed by her anxiety, and in doing so, his therapy does not help her, but rather induces these spells of anxiety.
These forces of the self are not the only thing that influence this toxic, pseudo-therapeutic, tortured love tainted by sexual violence relationship between the parents. It is almost as if the nature (found in the park very appropriately named ‘Eden’) is trying to absorb these two characters. As she lays down in the grass, she turns green and the vines start to curl around her literally consuming her.
As with the other movies in the trilogy, this film is loaded with symbolism. Starting with the title, Antichrist, one is inclined to search for religious symbols. The first of which is the name of the son, ‘Nick’, also the subject of the thesis which she was working on was about witchcraft and, of course the name of the park, Eden. Other symbols include the fox, the deer giving birth and the crow. The mutilation of the feet is another symbol that can also be regarded as religious. The funeral goers at the end of the film is another symbol, and just like all the aforementioned symbols one is never quite sure what they refer to.
Certainly not an easy film to watch, this graphic exploration of the human psyche and its constant search for connection to others or even nature beautifully represents the Von Trier oeuvre.
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