#251 / 365 – ‘Melancholia’ – 135 mins
Cinema Challenge #102 / 115
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) are getting married. But its rapidly turning into the wedding from hell. Much to the despair of the depressive bride’s long-suffering sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who has done much to organise this lavish bash, family tensions are exploding. Their father Dexter (John Hurt) and mother Gaby (Charlotte Rampling) are at one another’s throats. And boorish brother-in-law John (Keifer Sutherland), who is hosting the ceremony at his mansion, just won’t shut up about how much its cost him. Meanwhile up in the heavens, a giant planet named Melancholia has emerged from behind the sun and appears to be on a collision course with the earth.
Lars Von Trier opens up Melancholia an apocalyptic piece of science fiction with a dramatic, arrestingly if pretentious montage of images shot in super slow motion – against a magnificent piercing cinematic overture. After this Melancholia settles down into its two parts of sisters ‘Justine’ and ‘Claire’ which becomes a self-indulgent ridiculous air of doom and slow burning affair that left me feeling cold and weary, but then at the same time there’s no denying Melancholia is incredibly well made and at times I was of captivated by its beauty and power – before its truly spectacular finale.
At Melancholia core, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland put together decent performances but none of them are particularly believable as human beings, and 135 minutes in their irritable company means you won’t be inviting them around for tea again any time soon.