Antichrist (2009) Director: Lars Von Trier

You may have heard about Lars Von Trier's infamous Antichrist; the outrage at its sexual and violent content, the 'hardcore pornography' within it, jeers at the Cannes Film Festival etc... Certainly, the Daily Fail don't like it very much. Yes, its content is pretty strong and 'shocking' but it didn't shock me. Whilst we do get Charlotte Gainsbourg as 'She' walking around with no knickers on for half the film and some really f**ked up violence towards the end, ultimately the film itself is a bore. And knowing what Lars Von Trier is up to with his relentless ambition to shock and outrage, it's really quite yawnsome.

The film itself is shot beautifully - broke into prologue, chapters and epilogue, the prologue is of a young child falling to his death from an open window whilst his parents He (Willem Dafoe) and She make love; all set to music by Handel. It is prolonged, horrific and heart-breaking but still beautiful in its execution. We then go into the specific chapters which follow the grief of He and She, moving into a therapy session in a cabin in the woods (Eden) where we start to get a bit nervous as it's all very Evil Dead like. There are some gorgeous scenes here of extreme horror; He encounters a deer that is miscarrying a dead fawn and a self-disembowelling fox which snarls at him 'chaos reigns'. Shit got real. Whilst these are utterly un-nerving moments, there is still something oddly beautiful about them.

Chapters Three and Four are where the 'fun' starts and are possibly the most controversial. She goes a bit loopy (ah, as women do, of course!) and starts to exact some nasty violence on He, blaming him for their son's death and generally as a man for causing everything to be wrong in the world. We have graphic full frontal nudity of He being castrated and then masturbated until he ejaculates blood. We also then have She cutting her clitoris off with a pair of scissors. Jesus. What else can you say? It is pretty strong and full-on.

My explanation behind what is going on is that the film is deeply misogynistic or, at least, trying to be. Women are evil, they control nature, nature controls them, they are connected and as one. The animals - and the Three Beggars - flock to She and there is an understanding here of the power of the Goddess and familiars. However, on the flip side, it is saying women are powerful and formidable. Men can't win. Whilst it looks like He comes off better in the end, he doesn't, as evident in the epilogue.

It's an interesting film but really just a heavy indulgence trip for Von Trier. Too artsy for most to be proper horror and with the dark sexual content not there to titilate, it's a difficult film to enjoy. She's choice of knitwear is particularly upsetting. The fox shit me up though. Here he is...