Pontificating on Antichrist
Author: - November 6, 2009 - Updated: November 6, 2009
Starring Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, a fox
Directed by Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville)
Where do you stand on Antichrist? No, I don’t mean Satan. I mean the movie.
What’s that you say? You haven’t heard of it, much less seen it? Well, that’s because it isn’t playing at a theater near you (and you clearly haven’t decided to break the law and download it from some nefarious Internet site). The film is playing only in a smattering of theaters nationwide.
It’s about a husband and wife who unleash all kinds of physical and psychological torture on each other at a secluded cabin in an idyllic forest after their young child dies falling out their open window while they are making graphic love in the shower.
Will you eventually get a chance to see it? Would you even want to see it? Do you even care?
One sure way to pique your interest (and help get it more widely shown) is to make it scandalous. You’d think that with a name like Antichrist it would be scandalous enough. But in today’s world, that just won’t do. The outrageous rhetoric needs to be dialed up to the heavens.
So, in the interest of helping ensure that this film gets a wider release, here are
some slogans to get attention and cause a furor — slogans and allegations that can fit on a protest sign, provide fodder for talk radio or be used as a clever quip on the floor of the U.S. House of
Antichrist is anti-acorn!
[Context: No, not that ACORN! When the husband and wife escape to their cabin in the woods to recuperate and attempt to “heal” their psyches after the death of their child, the roof of their rustic cabin is creepily and eerily bombarded by a loud, steady rain of falling acorns from the overhanging trees. I am outraged that they would make something so natural so menacing!]
Antichrist promotes self-cannibalism!
[Context: There is a shockingly disturbing scene where a fox is seen devouring itself complete with the greasy, bloody entrails in full display. How dare the film show such unnatural depictions of animals eating animals!]
Antichrist is anti-fox!
[Context: No, not FOX News. That very same fox looks up at the husband as he stumbles upon it munching on itself in the woods and utters one of the most incendiary lines imaginable these days, “Chaos rules!” (OK. So maybe the film really is anti-FOX News after all!)]
Antichrist is anti-antiques!
[Context: While recuperating in the cabin in the woods, the husband and wife fight in the adjoining workshop, where all sorts of old, rusty tools are hanging around. While there, the wife attacks her husband by drilling a hole through his leg using one of those hand-cranked drills, enabling her to slide through that leg-hole a rusty metal bar attached to the wheel of a heavy, old-fashioned grinder. Every aficionado of antique workshop tools will be aghast — that’s not the proper way to use and appreciate these valuable treasures or to promote them on the “Antiques Roadshow!”]
Antichrist views wives as “balls and chains”!
[Context: See above!]
Antichrist is anti-wood!
[Context: The wife incapacitates her husband in the workshop by whacking his “family jewels” with a wedge of firewood from a stack along the wall. That’s a very inappropriate use of wood — especially as we are trying to find productive uses for all the dead trees on our national forests! (And you could also say that the film is anti- another — more risqué — use of the term “wood,” but we will, ahem, keep that flaccid.)]
Antichrist is anti-anti-depression!
[Context: Before the husband and wife retreat to the cabin, she falls into a terrible depression. She is hospitalized and is prescribed mental health medication. However, the husband makes her stop taking the prescriptions, thinking that he can help instead by continually berating, insulting, harassing and demeaning her. How’s that for a novel treatment of this seriously debilitating mental condition?! The drug companies and headshrinkers are going to go all mental on this film!]
Antichrist wants Detroit to fail!
[Context: The husband and wife get to their cabin on foot. Why didn’t they just drive there? Don’t they want to help the world’s teetering economic condition by promoting the use of cars?!]
Antichrist thinks Al Gore is full of hot air!
[Context: When the husband and wife first encounter their cabin in the woods, it is depicted as a lush, green getaway. But as they bicker and battle, their natural surroundings become more and more menacing and threatening, suggesting that nature is evil and mean. Gore is likely to fume!]
Antichrist defends Balloon Boy’s parents!
[Context: The event that drives the entire film is the opening tragic death of the couple’s toddler when he plunges many stories from an open window (while they are, ahem, kind of distracted in the shower together). If only the young boy had parents like the Heenes, who would have strapped a balloon on the boy so that he could have floated gently to the snow-covered street below. Perhaps there was a method to their madness after all?!]
Doug Young, The Statesman’s film critic, provides various perspectives in his reviews, thereby fulfilling his role as a master film critic.