Watched Feb 07, 2012
Ashley Cornall’s review:
"This isn't fun any more", Charlotte Gainsbourg whispers. 'No, it's not', I think. It hasn't been for a long time. I'm waiting - no, hoping! - for the destruction of our planet and with it these bizarrely fragile characters.
Melancholia has some powerful metaphors, I'll admit that much.
Ever had a panic attack? Crushing weight on your chest, breath hard to come by, a dense feeling of horror, certainty that something terrible is about to happen, no matter how much your loved ones reassure you. You know, instinctively, that you're being irrational. But there's this backlog of terror in your gullet that tells you otherwise.
Ever been depressed? You become a wrecking ball, despite having good intentions and desperately wanting to please those around you. "You can only hold a smile for so long", Chuck Palahniuk once said. "After that, it's just teeth". It's always teeth, after a certain period of time. And teeth aren't enough to hold a life together.
When I close my eyes I see that crushing blue, beautiful planet pushing towards the Earth, and I understand how powerful that image is. I think there hasn't been a film that quite captures the feeling of inescapable despair combined with the expectation of others that you can continue to be normal. Nor of the tragicomic experience of pretending to be 'together' when you're far from it.
Unfortunately, those metaphors are living about as heavy-handed an existence I think a metaphor can possibly live. Lars needs a script editor, dearly. It could have been a beautiful 20 minute short about the end of the world, but instead it was a ridiculously slow-moving, soporific and entirely unsympathetic journey that screamed from the slow-motion orchestral start that it wanted to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, the ill-timed chuckles from the audience proved that, for Melancholia? Not so much with the serious consideration.