Antichrist: A Bloody Dick and A Child's Death

Antichrist: A Bloody Dick and A Child's Death

The story Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist uses as its base deserves better than what it got.

Instead of exploring any sort of reasonable psychological problem, the film works out a scenario that owes a bit to horror films and some of that genre’s seventies’ iterations which were tied up with porn.

The film’s first scene depicts Willem Defoe’s character putting it to the Charlotte Gainsbourg character. It’s meant to be a shocking portrayal of physical love as there’s actual penetration shown during the feature’s first two minutes. And while that was a bit of a surprise, the understandable editing around the two principal actor’s faces makes the scene come off as a spliced together montage of what the pair’s lust might look like. Much the same scenario is played out when, much later, Gainsbourg’s character knock’s Dafoe’s junk around with a piece of firewood then proceeds to jerk him off, blood spurting out instead of that other stuff. Here too, there’s some pretty heavy editing in order to show viewers that someone was getting a hand job on set. It wasn’t Defoe, however.

So, yeah, the film is almost obsessed with graphic details intended to make viewers squirm. Antichrist succeeds in that, but leaves the plot a bit vague and winds up seeming like a series of vignettes included simply so we can get to another scene of violence and violent passion of the crazy variety.

Defoe’s character being involved in psychology, though, pretty much precludes any of this from being remotely possible. After that initial scene in the film, the pair’s son takes a dive out of his window. Understandably, the couple is rather upset. Gainsbourg’s character seems more deeply affected, which isn’t a tremendous surprise. But as a result of the psychological toll, she begins exhibiting a number of odd behaviors. The violent sex thing is one of them and comes up innumerable times throughout the narrative.

And while Defoe’s character is portrayed as detached from family life, the fact that he was unaware of his wife abandoning work on her thesis seems beyond possibility. Of course, the character not being overly concerned with why his wife all of a sudden likes to get smacked around is out of left field as well.

Most bizarre, though, is the Defoe character realizing that his wife was purposefully putting their child’s shoes on the wrong feet, resulting in a slight deformation noted in the autopsy. Even if he didn’t ever notice, he’d probably get to hear his kid complaining about his feet being sore.

That’s more than enough about this tripe. Antichrist didn’t achieve anything other films hadn’t and Von Trier inhabits the same cultural space as he did before.