The House That Jack Built ½

Lars, if you want to write essays, just write essays, but don't invent a film just to badly wax poetic about the ethics of art and violence within it. I gave up taking the movie seriously after during one voiceover monologue about the purpose of art, Von Trier showed clips of his previous films. The clips didn't enhance the story at all, but it did clarify the ham-fisted attempt the director was making to justify his own existence after being banned from Cannes for, in his own words, "sympathizing with Hitler". At the end of the day, I'm fine with a director trying to clarify/justify their art to an audience, but it cheats the audience to use the mechanism of a film to do so.

Not to mention, on top of all the exposition of the meaning of his films, the serial-killer core story which all of the "nature of art" conversations are laid out on top of isn't compelling, or executed well. Aside from the chapter with Riley Keough, which does have a sort of real emotional core due to the range of emotions Keough's character goes through, most of the "incidents" is just painfully bad dialogue leading up to a killing which isn't especially gruesome, or built up to have any significance for the film or our titular character. It just happens, its just there for us to revel in (as the exposition would have us believe, it's "art") but its not presented in a way that seems stylistically interesting. Von Trier wants you to be titillated by the idea of someone dying, when he's promised you a slasher flick.

God. What a waste of talent.

Joshua liked this review