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
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- On torture, the CIA says to trust the CIA
Subscribe to the Week