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"Melancholia" Review

Happy New Year! The Mayans say that the world ends this year, so we decided to kick off the last year of Earth with Lars von Trier's Melancholia, in which the Earth is destroyed by the titular planet. Based on this movie, perhaps ending the human race would be a good idea because when the first movie of the year has guaranteed itself a spot at the top of your Worst list, how much hope can you have?

Gawd, where to begin? Opening with a series of Kubrick-wannabe imagery with soaring Wagner music, we see the Earth annihilated. Some of those images will be reprised later, but, oddly, many aren't. Then we get an interminable scene of a stretch limo unable to navigate a tight country road turn. In the back are newlyweds Kirsten Dunst and Eric from True Blood. When they finally walk up to the reception, they're two hours late and everyone has been waiting for them. Didn't they call? Couldn't have someone picked them up? Doesn't von Trier have a tripod for that shaky camera?

It doesn't get better as her father is doddering; her mother sneers a toast about how she doesn't believe in marriage; she has depressed moments which lead her to disappear to take a bath; her boss is there demanding her to create a tag line for an ad campaign; none of it seems real and no one acts remotely like a person on this planet. When she's too bummed out to consummate the nuptials, the marriage is effectively over at that moment. Didn't he notice her moods before proposing and buying her an orchard or did they meet two days earlier? REAL PEOPLE DON'T ACT LIKE THIS!!!!

The second half focuses on her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) whose husband, Jack "DAMMIT!" Bauer, paid for Dunst's pooch (and intern; don't ask) screw of a wedding as she takes in her now-crippled-by-depression sis while the mysterious planet of Melancholia (so named because "El Destroyo" would've been racist) closes in for the End of the World®. Yawn. As the end nears, the previously catatonic Dunst becomes functional and everyone else falls apart. There's something about a horse not crossing a bridge and you get to check out Dunst's ginormous snoobs (link NSFW, so make sure the boss/kids/girlfriend aren't around), but by the end, you will have wished they'd ended the movie after the overture.

I've never seen a Lars von Trier movie before and now have zero plans on picking up his previous work. What is it about this garbage that attracted this cast? There isn't a single realistic character in the whole mess. Jack Bauer owns an 18-hole golf course and enormous mansion, but we have no idea how he's made his fortune. The wedding reception appears to last all night until the dawn and there's a trailer serving soup on the golf course and I can count the number of times I've even heard of such a thing happening on zero fingers. There's a little boy who doesn't react to anything crazy that's going on; no, "Hey, mom. Where's daddy? Why is it hailing? What's that gigantic planet in the sky? Didn't you have enough of von Trier after he had you cut your clitoris off in that last movie? Can I have the new Pokemon?" None of that.

Dunst won Best Actress at Cannes for her unimpressive performance; it's really limited by the script, but I guess if you cry and show your boobs, you can win. (Anne Hathaway joked about her nudity in Love and Other Drugs and how she thought it was supposed to get an Oscar nomination and after seeing this, she's got a legit beef.) The supporting players are similarly crippled, so I suppose if they made any impression, it's due to their talents and not von Trier's craptastic "writing" and direction. Someone needs to hit him with a planet to spare us all the misery of any other films.

Score: 1/10. Cue the asteroid!


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