After their child dies, a therapist (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) flee to their cabin in the woods, where they hope to mend their emotional wounds. But the grief-stricken couple watches their troubles multiply when very strange things begin to happen. Acclaimed Danish auteur Lars von Trier divides this tale into multiple narratives, revealing a surreal, horrific psychological adventure about the evils of nature, humanity and desire.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Director Lars Von Trier was battling horrible depression when he made this film and you can feel it right from the first frame. If any of you are familiar with his work, depression is a common theme in his films but it is taken to a new level here. The plot concerns a couple battling grief after the death of their son. They go to a remote cabin in woods to face their worst fears and end up finding something much worse around them and within themselves. All of the confrontations deal with much bigger issues concerning sex and pleasure, grief, good and evil, misogyny, nature’s cruelty, and the roles of God and Satan. It almost begs for repeated viewings if you can stomach the violence which includes genital mutilation amongst other things. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this is not the kind of film that I easily recommend. Most of you will probably hate it due to the extreme nature of it. But, if you have enjoyed Von Trier’s work in the past, I think you will find something interesting and thought provoking that will touch on the dark side of human nature. This is an art film and a very effective one at that. Some directors try to gently bring their message while Von Trier is anything but subtle. I also have to mention how fantastic the two principle leads are. Both Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are simply stunning. They convey incredible emotion and believability, which is necessary for a film that requires its audience to suspend so much disbelief. So, I recommend but proceed at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!