LAURA O’HERLIHY UNEMPLOYED, DUBLIN
I’m not a big horror movie fan, and this came off as an arty version of torture porn films like Saw. It has a touch of 1970s horror because of references to nature and paganism, but it feels as though von Trier is hitting his audience over the head and I wondered what the point of it was. I expected it to be shocking, but it wasn’t. Even the female genital mutilation scene didn’t shock me.
What I didn’t expect was that it would be so relentlessly grim. There was no happiness to the film, in the way that Breaking the Waves has a certain innocence and joy. The sex scenes were just animalistic coupling – there was no expression of love in anything Dafoe and Gainsbourg did. I’m guessing von Trier was trying to tell us that Nature is all powerful and that it’s feminine, but that too much of that power is evil. It was all a bit obvious, and if he was cleverer, it wouldn’t have come across that way.
On the whole, it wasn’t believable. Dafoe’s performance was laboured and the prologue resembled an early 1990s insurance ad. Art should enlighten and uplift and this doesn’t.