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
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: December 22, 2014
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
Subscribe to the Week