Melancholia

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Melancholia

Lars von Trier (2011)

129min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This operatic meditation on the apocalypse from provocative Danish auteur Lars von Trier is visually ravishing, artistically precise and defiantly cinematic, and so is a world apart from the avant-garde stylings of his earlier Dogme 95 work. The opulent country-house wedding reception of Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgård descends from social farce into nightmare (recalling Dogme cornerstone Festen) when her mental illness asserts itself. Later, the rogue planet of the title is revealed to be on a feared collision course with Earth - a case of narrative threat acting as a metaphor for depression - and Dunst's jittery sister Charlotte Gainsbourg nurses her through a debilitating dark mood, while boorish husband Kiefer Sutherland tries to reassure their young son that it's not the end of the world. Applying Wagner's Tristan und Isolde to underline the doom, von Trier creates gorgeous tableaux from the surroundings and mines trenchant symbolism from prophetic nightmares and portents (a horse and a golf cart unable to cross a bridge; a Brueghel painting bursting into flame). Never mind Armageddon and 2012, this is a cerebral kind of disaster movie with imagery and themes that prove much harder to shake.

Summary

An unhappy bride prepares for an elaborate high-society wedding at her sister's mansion. As she wrestles with her inner demons and alienates members of her family with increasingly self-destructive behaviour, Earth faces a devastating collision with another planet. Lars von Trier's sci-fi drama, starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard and John Hurt.

Cast & Crew

Justine Kirsten Dunst
Claire Charlotte Gainsbourg
John Kiefer Sutherland
Michael Alexander Skarsgård
Jack Stellan Skarsgård
Little father Jesper Christensen
Gaby Charlotte Rampling
Dexter John Hurt
Wedding planner Udo Kier
Tim Brady Corbet
Director Lars von Trier
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Artificial EyeGuidance: Contains nudity. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 30 Sep 2011
Drama