The Idiots

The Idiots ★★★★½

The Idiots is one of those film's that's kind of hard to gauge after only one viewing. But as usual, in his misanthropic way, Lars von Trier shows us a detestable aspect of society, this time in the form of a commune of people who pretend to be mentally handicapped as a method of self-exploration and discovery. However, here von Trier shows a glimmer of redemption beneath the muck.

This isn't to say that his characters are likable, as they're still easy to hate, but the desire to escape the mundane in the pursuit of soul searching is a concept that we can easily relate to. Though we may never dream of doing it in the way that's presented here. It feels extraordinarily self-indulgent at times and even grotesque at times, but it would be too easy to dismiss this film as mere self-indulgence. Von Trier is dense, and you typically have to peel away layers of filthiness and hatefulness to get to the point, and I don't think I fully grasped it, rather, I'm just starting to brush at it with my fingertips.

Regardless, I got a lot of enjoyment out of The Idiots. I really enjoy the Dogme movement, and I think von Trier's entry is one of the strongest, though I will say I do prefer Vinterberg's The Celebration. There's just a special quality to the story that comes with such a basic visual style. It really forces you to focus on the characters and their situations, since there's no visual beauty to distract you. I'm looking forward to give this particular another watch, because, despite his attitude, I do love Lars von Trier.

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