Monday, December 15, 2014

From the vault: Antichrist (2009)

by Germar Derron


The 2009 film Antichrist is appropriately titled. Although it's not necessarily a religious movie, it is definitely “against” Christ. I did the usual amount of homework before deciding to walk to the local indie theater. I learned of the pornographic scenes, sexual brutality, flying-dying babies and talking animals, but I didn't hesitate. I ran to The Loft (in Tucson) to catch the last showing.

The film received a rare anti-award at the Cannes film festival for misogynistic views. So . . . there's that.

The movie begins with baby suicide . . . . That's not a spoiler because the first scene includes a baby, an open window, and a heavily intoxicated amorous couple, so lost in lust that they forget the kid walks and lacks depth perception or fear.   

Willem Dafoe stars as the anti-doping-shrink-father-father figure-boy toy. Dafoe must be one of the most under-appreciated modern actors. But for some reason, I expect to see him on a glider, talking to himself, and blowing things up. In Antichrist, his character gets everything he deserves for cheating on his wife with Madonna. This is a sequel to Body of Evidence right?

Charlotte Gainsbourg plays the once heavily medicated, infinitely depressed mother, and nymphomaniac. If I'd written this movie, I'd title it Nymphomania, It's Not as Awesome as You ThinkIn the second act, the director gets very comfortable with Gainsbourg's body, and decides that pants are optional for the remainder of the film.   

At this point, you might be thinking that I'm a prude or a bit "square;" that couldn't be further from the truth. I've advocated for pornographic scenes in legitimate big-budget Hollywood productions since my days in film school. The problem with Antichrist is a lack of necessity.  When I witness the enlarged details of a man's genitalia, I need motivation. The graphic sex scenes aren't titillating, and do nothing to progress the story. They provide some shock, and less awe. The lovely lesbian couple seated in front of me mumbled things like, “oh no” and “not again.” Two of the ten attendees left the theater. Every man sat with their legs crossed--no clinched--for various reasons. 

The story? Yes, I believe there is a story. The woman displays symptoms of all known psychological issues. She mopes, pops pills, sleeps a lot, is hypnotized, is abusive, and also climaxes early and often. Her partner happens to be a new-school, natural-no-drugs therapist. He convinces her to flush the pills and try an all natural healing in the mountains.  Will it work?  Will she be able to keep it together?  Will someone die? Is there a ridiculous M. Knight like twisted ending?

The sincerest success of this movie is the unintentional comedy. I mentioned the talking animals previously. I did not mention that they act as Shamans, and guide the couple in moments of need. The premise is comical. If you missed your workout, wait for the scene with the black bird that won't shut up; it’s a serious calorie burner.

I rarely regret seeing movies. I'm a half-full film enthusiast. I enjoy backdrops, extras, camera angles, and allusions. I'm rarely startled, grossed out, offended, or even surprised.  Antichrist haunted me. One scene features a stream of blood, actually an eruption of bodily fluid; you will not like that shot.

The purpose of this review was to summarize and entertain, but most importantly dissuade.  Unfortunately, the introduction included “pornographic scenes.”  Fifty-percent of the readers won't complete the article. Seventy five-percent of the readers are searching Netflix for Antichrist.  And now my mom won’t speak to me for like a week. 
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