Friday, November 11, 2011
Lars and the Really Depressed Girl
I'll make my meanest comment first. During the scene in which Claire tells her son to stop showing them things about Melancholia on his laptop, I think Brandon made a joke about him not getting to finish his powerpoint presentation. I bring that up because that's the best format I see the film Melancholia working as...a powerpoint. Visually, it's stunning. Substance-wise, it's lacking.
That's as far as I get from not being a pussy, though. Melancholia is a good movie, and of course it shouldn't be a powerpoint. It is better than hundreds of other films that were released this year. Agreed. BUT my annoyance toward the film stems from the overall disappoint I felt while watching it (I had very high expectations for this one) and the way that the characters were handled/written. So I can't align myself with Brandon, Ben, and John.
Like Jeff, I didn't give a crap about any of the characters. I can't remember the last time I liked a depressed character in a film, if at all. Maybe Synecdoche, New York? The overall film is dark, and Caden certainly battles with depression. But there's also a lot of love in his heart. Anyways, it probably is impossible to pull off because no one enjoys being around someone who's depressed all of the time.
Another thing I believe Brandon said last night was that von Trier tends to hide from emotion and is often too timid in exposing the connections he feels toward his characters (this may also be in someone's post, I already forget). I can't argue that point very hard, but I can say that Lars maintains that consistency here. In fact, I'd be a little confused by someone who rejects Dogville but also embraces Melancholia; both can seem pretty pessimistic and heartless. (NOTE: Ha, I see that Brandon just commented on this). It was great to see Nicole Kidman get revenge in the end. It felt so rewarding, even if it was a little evil. There was no real reward here. Justine wants to die, Claire and her son do not and don't deserve death. Does every film have to be rewarding in that way? No, but I needed something from this film that I didn't get...even if that something was the most depressing thing I've ever seen. After watching Synecdoche, NY, I literally couldn't open my mouth to speak about the film; had I, I would've bawled my eyes out. Here, I largely felt indifferent.
Dogville ends in bullets (and Bowie) and Melancholia ends in the complete destruction of the Earth. And as much as Justine is an annoying bitch, it is true that she comes through in the end. She tries to be brave for Leo and is there to hold his and Clarie's hands. But with that, Jeff is right in saying that the film isn't bleak enough. It isn't an emotional rollercoaster in the way that it should be. The strongest comments uttered in the film are when Justine claims that people are terrible and that no one will miss Earth. That was one of my favorite scenes because it tried to focus not only on a larger theme, but it started to hit on the bleakness that should've been maintained throughout.
Part 1 was hard to sit through. I want to give this one a second viewing because maybe I'll see the light in the way that Ben did. There's no discreet charm here. Weddings in film are hard enough to watch as it is without having to watch so many selfish people. But whatever, I sort of sympathize with Justine in regard to her job and her boss. Without getting the full exposition, I was able to somehow to relate to the situation. We force all of these roles and expectations on people, and expect a handshake or a pat of the back in return. We expect our brides to be happy with their groom and their occupation, when occasionally those jobs and spouses are just settled on and not chosen. I don't know what I'm trying to say here, maybe just that I take the thing back about Justine being a slightly evil character. There is more to her than meets the eye.
The most interesting relationship in the film is the one between Justine and the planet Melancholia. Jeff had a great write-up on that nude scene.
I think we can all agree that the prologue was one the highlights; each shot stimulates the mind. And with Tristan and Isolde playing in the background, it fully immerses you in a world that you'd like to at least own a timeshare in.
I enjoyed the sci-fi/destruction film aspect of it, I feel that that stuff works, but needed more.
I disagree with John that Melancholia has more heart than Drive, but I know we've had that conversation before, so...meh.
But there is no hate here...just a guy who takes forever to write a post saying that he was disappointed by the film.