Melancholia was Lars von Trier’s much anticipated film about the end of the world which, upon its initial release, was met with mixed reactions. It’s certainly a film which is unconventional on almost every level, but does that mean it’s worth a watch?
The concept of Melancholia alone is one which require the audience to suspend their sense of disbelief. Once you’ve got your head around the theme of the impending apocalypse, where a planet named Melancholia is heading towards the Earth, you also have to work some way to understand the characters themselves. It’s not a film to put on for a light watch on a rainy day, let’s just leave it at that. Trier demands his audience’s full attention, right from the slow-motion opening scenes, and if nothing else, this is a film that certainly deserves it.
Kirsten Dunst plays Justine, a women who has just got married, and is seemingly torn between having the happiest day of her life and her ongoing battle with depression – her own melancholia, if you will. Her performance carries much of this film, and there are few who don’t agree that she is truly captivating to watch. It is a step away from the rather more light-hearted parts which she’s been more readily associated with in recent years, taking on the female lead in films such as Spider-Man and Elizabethtown.
With an operatic score, a great deal of improvised dialogue and several moments which boarder on the surreal, Melancholia is not a film which will be suited to more mainstream tastes. Even with appearances from the likes of John Hurt and Kiefer Sutherland, there is a distinctively gloomy tone to the majority of the film which makes it hard to class as an enjoyable watch. Yet for fans of Triers bold style of movie making and those who enjoy a spot of unconventional cinema, Melancholia is well worth a watch.