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Melancholia
BLU-RAY disk
Mar 27, 2012 By: Mathew Plale
Melancholia order download
Director:
Lars von Trier

Actors:
Kirsten Dunst
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Kiefer Sutherland

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two women--a depressed newlywed (Dunst) and her fearful older sister (Gainsbourg)--confront their relationship and the possibility of a rogue planet colliding with Earth.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
After the self-disembowelments and genital mutilations of Antichrist, Lars von Trier left himself nowhere else to go but to the end of the world.

Following a prologue of Wagner and glimpses of the apocalypse, the story sets on the wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst, showing she is so much more than Mary Jane and a cheerleader) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). It’s a bleak, ugly party that most--the bride included--seem detached from.

Early on, Justine spots a bright red star in the sky that her sister Claire’s (Charlotte Gainsbourg) casual stargazer husband John (Kiefer Sutherland) identifies as Antares. The next morning, it has vanished. It has been eclipsed by the rogue planet Melancholia, which is nearing Earth in an event that Claire anticipates will be much more than a “fly-by.” We do, too. The slow-motion images in the prologue of Justine in her gown floating downstream, Claire sinking into the ground and a horse keeling over weren’t for nothing.

Melancholia is split into two sections, “Justine” and “Claire.” The division seems superfluous, especially since it is Claire, in “Justine,” who best sums up life and death. There is a bean count contest at Justine’s wedding that all of the guests enter. No one is correct, though a few come closer. “Incredibly trivial,” she says. Is that how von Trier views the world? I don’t know, and I don’t think I’d ask him.

Melancholia would make a great double-feature with Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which showed the beginning of life in an incredible sequence that complements the opening of von Trier’s film.

The images of Melancholia are just striking and disturbing. That is partly because von Trier--with the direct collaboration of cinematographer Manual Alberto Claro--doesn’t bother to show the world end the way blockbusters do. Melancholia may be how the depressed and scared would regard it. It is a quiet happening, without hours-long destruction or people running rampant in the streets. Maybe that is how it will happen. It doesn’t matter. It’s just like Claire said.
THE EXTRAS
About Melancholia (12:00): Lars von Trier, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and psychologist Irene Oestrich discuss the characters and themes of the film.

Visual Effects (7:01): This featurette takes a look at some of the storyboards and pre-visual work of Melancholia.

The Visual Style (10:11): Lars von Trier and Manual Alberto Claro discuss the look and cinematography of Melancholia.

The Universe (4:25): Visual effects supervisor Peter Hjorth and astrophysicist Michael J.D. Linden discuss the technicals and scientific aspects used in the film.

HDNet: A Look at Melancholia (5:06): This standard piece uses clips and interviews to promote Melancholia.

Theatrical Trailers
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
With Melancholia, Lars von Trier has delivered a daring look at both depression and the apocalypse. The images are frightening, the performances (especially by Dunst) are real and the reasoning is justified. This Blu-ray from Magnolia shows all of this in high-definition transfers that enhance the eeriness and special features that devote time to both the themes and the science of the film.
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4:08PM on 03/28/2012

Blows

Easily one of the worst movies I have ever sat through. How it gets any rating above two stars (generous) is beyond my scope of understanding. Avoid!
Easily one of the worst movies I have ever sat through. How it gets any rating above two stars (generous) is beyond my scope of understanding. Avoid!
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4:27PM on 03/27/2012

Terrible film.

This and tree of life are both terrible films.
This and tree of life are both terrible films.
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