Thursday, March 20, 2014
Indie Review: Antichrist (2009)
'Antichrist': A Uniquely Disturbing Cabin-In-The-Woods Movie With A Twist
They say the point of art is to make you feel emotion once you observe it, whether it'd be a painting or a book or a movie. Even if observing different pieces of art upsets you, then the artists behind those pieces of art have done their job. Although Antichrist is very disturbing and left me somewhat shaken after watching it, it is a true work of art.
Antichrist is about a couple who just lost their child and the woman in the couple (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is grief stricken. Her husband (Willem Dafoe) then takes her up to a cabin in the woods named "Eden" for them to resolve their troubles. Eventually, nature from within and outside begins to take a toll on them and the woman develops increasingly violent sexual behavior.
What I Liked About It:
One thing that I found interesting was how it is essentially a horror film that is both a "cabin-in the-woods" movie and a religious horror movie, as their is plenty of religious symbolism to be found. The main characters are almost a parallel to that of Adam and Eve, as they are retreating to a place called "Eden" and are succumbing to their guilty sins. There is even one scene where the couple are having sex under a tree that is a possible representation of the Tree of Knowledge.
I also liked the performances from the two lead actors. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are outstanding as the couple known only as He and She, that are two characters that over the course of the film blur the line between victim and aggressor as they slowly unleash the dark side of nature within. Gainsbourg especially excels as she plays a female character that not only feels guilty over the death of her son, but even feels the need to punish herself for being a woman in general. The direction from Lars Von Trier is also astounding. The way he shoots it is so realistic even in scenes where there are special effects involved like scenes with a deer, fox, and crow that are known in the film as the "three beggars" and are symbols for grief, pain, and despair.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Antichrist is a uniquely artistic horror film that demonstrates the violent nature of both man and woman as well as nature, both on the outside and within. This is definitely not a film I would recommend to everybody, I'll admit, since there are some violent scenes and a good amount of sex scenes. But, it is a true piece of art and astonishing filmmaking.