Head to Head – Antichrist

Welcome to the latest edition of Head to Head, in which our Quickflix critic takes on our readers in a rip-snorting battle to the death! You pick the film, and we pick the fight!

This week, Lee Zachariah (from Ain’t It Cool News!) pulled out his scissors and *** *** *** ****** of Lars von Trier‘s controversial Antichrist (but not before ******* ** *** ***** ** **** *****)! You can send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix too!

Lee Zachariahwill argue AGAINST the film while Quickflix critic Simon Miraudo will argue FOR it. Let us know in the comments section below who you agree with. Spare no vitriol! Choose your side! There can only be one winner!

Lee Zachariah – 2/5

It’s not so much that I don’t like Lars von Trier; it’s more that I hate his work with the heat of a thousand suns. His obvious desperation to be “edgy” makes him his own worst enemy, and never has that been more apparent than in Antichrist. For the first time ever, Antichrist showed me von Trier’s potential as a great filmmaker: there are some moments in Antichrist that are astonishingly good, and evidence that von Trier has it in him to make amazing cinema. But far from being a brave auteur, he is constantly weakened by his desperation to be “shocking”. A close up of penetrative sex in the opening sequence is strangely juvenile; likewise, the way that Charlotte Gainsbourg descends into psychotic madness eschews its promise of psychological complexity in favour of scenes designed purely to grab headlines and secure von Trier as some sort of dangerous artist. “Shocking” does not mean “explicit”, and von Trier’s childish desire to further his reputation is what steered the promising Antichrist into failure.

Simon Miraudo – 4.5/5

We all took great delight in reading about Antichrist’s hilarious debut at Cannes ’09, where cinema patrons responded in hyperbolic disgust towards the film’s “ridiculous” scenes of genital mutilation and talking foxes. And yes, we all loved hearing Lars declare himself “the best director in the world” following the screening. Hearing these tales anecdotally leads us to only one conclusion – Von Trier is an attention-hungry agitator who believes the generation of controversy is the true work of art. Courting fame and controversy alone would merely establish him as the film-equivalent of Lady Gaga (who wears cigarette sunglasses and bubble suits but creates music as interesting as that found on Skitzmix 23). Actually watching Antichrist creates a far different experience. I refuse to accept that von Trier is only about shock and awe. There are interesting themes about Christianity and sexuality littered throughout his film, not to mention some stirring, poetic, nightmarish imagery. Those “ridiculous” scenes work tremendously well in the context of the film. And you cannot discount the earth-shattering power of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s lead performance. There’s not enough room here to discuss what I think Antichrist is about and why it’s great (I’ll leave that to my review). Lee, just accept it: Chaos reigns.
Now it’s over to you! What are your thoughts on Antichrist? Let us know in the comments section below. If you would like to be featured in the next Head to Head and possibly win some free movie tickets, send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!

2 Responses to “Head to Head – Antichrist”

  1. I thought the first half movie was amazing the first time, but the second time it sort of bored me.Gainsbourgh is amazing and some of the cinematography is excellent, but von Trier really goes off the rails in the third chapter (and that penetration shot almost kills the otherwised fantastic opening sequence). I'm siding with Lee on this one

  2. That's me done with Lars von Trier. I should really have tossed it in after Dogville… This was such a self conscious pile. Lars was there standing over every scene, contriving the weirdness, the gratuitous torture (why stop at a clitorectomy when you can toss in ejeculating blood) and even the occasional beautiful scene. But the movie never existed on its own, you could always feel the dead hand of Lars in every scene. Even amazing performances from Dafoe and Gainsburg were overwhelmed by the von Trier conceit. Note to Lars – leave the creepy happenings in the woods to David Lynch

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