Nymphomaniac: Vol. II ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The director’s cut causes Vol. I to drag slightly and strongly improves Vol. II, which now gets to breathe a lot more; the real benefit from this is in the closing chapter and finale, which now feel less rushed, which helps the goofy final joke seem like less of a fuck-you to the audience. (Disclosure: I didn’t mind the ending in the first place, but its tone doesn’t really fit.) Also there is the infamous abortion scene which apparently caused audience members to faint at the premiere; it’s horrific and sadistic and strangely riveting, like the rest of the film. I don’t think there’s any question that Nymphomaniac, collectively, is the weakest film of the Depression Trilogy; but I also think certain specific sequences are as absorbing and insightful as anything Trier has ever shot... and that the film’s major problem, its split into halves, isn’t something you could logically fix without losing a lot. (A 5h30m film is simply too long but watching it as two movies you lose threads and connections that would help its narrative... and yet I don’t feel there’s anything that cries out to be removed.) It’s the most clinical and detailed, least erotic movie about sex I’ve ever seen... but it’s also bizarrely amusing in a deadpan sort of way, and often incisive at that. Or maybe I’m just fucked up.