Women cry. Men are douchebags. The world ends. Just another day in Lars von Trier-ville.
Undoubtedly one of my biggest cinematic heroes, I will blindly follow von Trier wherever he ventures yet no matter how many times I see Melancholia I just can’t seem to fall in love with it. It feels too much like familiar territory. If you watch Breaking the Waves, Dogville, Antichrist and this movie in quick succession, it is the only one that doesn’t seem to throw things forward. I get that it is part of a bigger thematic trilogy in the same way Manderlay is but I just wish it did more for me.
It’s no slouch, though. The performances are FAN-TAS-TIQUE. Dunst’s leg-swinging angel of death aura in the second half never fails to seduce me. Gainsbourg gets to show more heart than she was permitted in Antichrist and even the secondary performances from leftfield casting (Keifer Sutherland? Why not!) are surprising. I like the simplicity of the structure too. It’s kind of like Lars doing Festen in part one and then some other thing in part two. I can dig it. I like the stylistic progression from Antichrist and top-class artistry but for one reason or another, I just never get lost in this one like I do so many other von Trier jams.