Monday, November 28, 2011

Melancholia: A Nerve Racking Time...In a Good Way

I wasn't sure what to think immediately after seeing Lars Von Trier's new film Melancholia. When I first began watching it, I was both puzzled, yet interested at what I was seeing. The movie starts with the end of the world, and then flashes to a wedding reception, one of the happiest days of a young couple. Next we watch the facade of a happy couple crumble, all while knowing that eventually all of issues these characters face will not matter. My initially thought after the movie's first half, "Justine" was slight boredom.  I didn't know where this movie was planning to go and how these characters would face their impending doom

Melancholia's second half is similar to the first, however the focus is switched from Kirsten Dunst's Justine, to Charlotte Gainsbourg's Claire.  During this second half, I began to feel increasing tense.  The planet Melancholia has been discovered to be flying by Earth.  Claire believes that the planet will be crashing into the Earth and is scared for her family. She believes that Melancholia will crash into Earth.  Her husband reassures her Melancholia will only fly by and will not collide with the Earth.  What is so nerve racking here is the isolation of the setting.  Claire and her family live on a secluded estate, far apart from the rest of their town. There are no radio reports, no television reports, and no newspaper reports of what if anything is being done to combat the possible impending doom. We are left just with a family and their fright and acceptance of what will be.

Melancholia is not an easy film to get into, it slow build and lacking a substantial plot. I was not a huge fan of the first half, but I was uneasily caught up in the second.

**1/2 stars

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