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Movie Review: Antichrist

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I don't typically review films via print, but Lars von Trier's latest body of artwork, Antichrist, wasn't really a typical film. It was more beautifully shot than some of the most gorgeous movies I've ever seen; it was scarier than any run of the mill horror film, and more disturbing than anything that's ever disturbed me in my life, in a very outside-of-the-spectrum of what-you-would-drop-your-jaw-at-because-of-its-astonishing-shock-value kind of way. I don't know what the normal protocol for revealing spoilers is in movie reviews, but to save you the trauma of reading about the things I saw in this film, I will leave them for your own viewing.

The opening of the film was a masterpiece innate of itself. Beautifully shot in slow motion, it was sexy; it was shocking; it was horrifying, and it was heart breaking. A mother and father vacation from their family life in the most vividly passionate way, and pay the ultimate consequence when they ignore their son while tangled in the throws of lovemaking. He (Willem Dafoe) is a therapist, and she (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is a writer, or something, but, more importantly, a very emotionally wrecked woman. He tries to help her iron out her fears so they can move on with their lives from their tragedy, and takes her to the heart of the woods, which she finds so frightening she actually refers to it as "Satan's church".

The film -- although extremely thoughtful and visually breathtaking -- seemed to be Von Trier's ballad preaching the evil that is woman. Half of the time that my jaw was dropped during the screening was due to the fact that I've never seen someone so blatantly slash the female gender in such a way where he literally called women the root of all evil. I actually said aloud, "this is the most anti-feminist film I've ever seen." I was promptly shushed. She, the antagonist, is the most gruesome, undying virus of irrational, disgusting human behavior I have ever seen personified into a breathing character. One memorable line rang true to my ears though, "a crying woman is a scheming woman," and I was annoyed that he was publicizing a secret that only we are supposed to know. Oh, von Trier, you have it all figured out, don't you?

But my own female chauvinism aside, Antichrist was an amazingly composed feature with every element in its exact right place. The performances were strong; the characters were well-rounded; every little detail served its purpose. Von Trier has made an arthouse film that isn't so artsy that it's hard to follow. The story is linear, and it is glorious in it's finality. So don't expect to see a campy horror flick when you sit down to watch this one. Be ready to be sucked into the still life world of moving images brought to you by a true artist.

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Review by Alyson Bruno