Monday, December 19, 2011

Melancholia (2011)

From the offset Melancholia is going to immediately divide audiences. It is purposefully slow, often bereft of dialog and does very little by way of establishing a plot or storyline. It is a film about depression, paranoia and the end of the world and whilst it looks stunning it plays a little overly melodramatic.

 Justine and Michael are deeply in love, it is their wedding day and they should be happier than ever. They are on their way to their reception which will be a memorable event if for all the wrong reasons. Those present at the reception include Justine's sister Claire, their estranged parents Gaby and Dexter. Claire's husband John, who is the owner of the massive estate that the event is being held at, Jack, who is Justine's boss and who is attending predominately in order to get an advertising tagline from her and the wedding planner, who all but shuns Justine once things take a turn for the worst. It becomes abundantly clear over the course of the evening that this is a broken family, full of resentment, possibly some insanity and in Justine's case depression. This is possibly the first depiction on film of every bride's worst nightmare when it comes to the reception.

The second half of the film focuses its attention to Claire, now caring for Justine who has become crippled by her depression, both physically and emotionally. Claire is suffering from paranoia, this is a result of the discovery of a new planet that has been hiding behind the sun and that is now in a probable collision course with the Earth.

What the film lacks in exposition it certainly makes up for in style and performance.  All of the cast are impressive, with Kirsten Dunst throwing the full weight of her own personal bout with depression into her character, but it is the visual aspects of the film that steal the show.  Von Trier uses some amazing cinematography and some superb use of CGI to enhance his backdrops, however all if this still isn't enough to save the film from being a slow, sometimes dull and often overly melodramatic piece.

No comments: