Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Melancholia - A Modest Review

I don't usually review older movies (this one's a year old) but I just saw it the other night and it really impressed me. It's a movie about the end of the world. A giant earth-like planet has come into the solar system and is approaching Earth. Some believe it will do a fly-by and we'll be safe but in the opening it shows the two planets colliding so that sort of gives it away. The movie is really about how people deal with the prospect of imminent doom. The movie follows two sisters, Justine (played by Kirsten Dunst), and Claire (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg). As the movie opens Justine is getting married and there's a night-long reception at the castle where Claire and her husband John (Keifer Sutherland) live with their young son Leo. Before the night is out Justine has a fling with a strange young man and by morning the husband leaves by himself. Justine falls into depression, which is apparently the reason the director (Lars von Trier) made the movie in the first place - because he suffers from depression - and her struggle with that, and how Claire tries to help her through the depression. The film then wends its way to the inevitable conclusion, but both actresses carry it along with style and grace. There are some stunning images, especially when you see the moon on one side of a long-shot frame and the planet (called Melancholia) shining on the other. There's no hysterical running around or trying to build a spaceship to carry parts of the human race somewhere else. It's a very introspective experience. I liked it far more than I would have anticipated.

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