Director Lars von Trier's Antichrist is "a film of awkwardness, confusion, and great beauty," said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. Starring Willem Dafoe as a psychologist trying to treat his distraught wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) after the death of their toddler, Antichrist (watch the trailer) is "shocking" and "horrific." But "even at his most objectionable," Lars von Trier "can summon a wealth of images that defy explanation."
"Antichrist is a confrontational film that dances between the sublime, the mundane, and the shocking," said Scott Weinberg in FearNet.com, "with little to no regard for audience expectations." This "nightmarish" movie is at times "fascinating," but it's also "slightly tiresome" and "pretty savage," and viewers will likely find it "brilliant, repugnant, or somewhere in between."
They may also find it to be "a thoroughly pretentious and unpleasant wallow that tortures its audience for no apparent reason," said Alonso Duralde in MSNBC.com. This "tasteless" movie "is so over-the-top—and its storytelling so divorced from humanity—that I found myself unflinchingly staring" at its "violence, unaffected by any of the mutilations and monstrosities being paraded in front of me."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to live a long life, according to science
- How the brides of ISIS are attracting Western women
- Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
- The secret advantages of great penmanship
- For Democrats, the right lesson from 2014 is to be more liberal
- The real lesson of the looming Martha Coakley disaster
Subscribe to the Week