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  • Writer's pictureriawoodburn


Updated: May 18, 2020

I try to avoid reviews of films before I watch them as not to taint my own critique, but after deciding to watch Antichrist (2009) I couldn’t resist. Reading the reviews, it had me wanting to be part of the conversations, even after its 10-year debut. Xan Brooks’ 2009 headline stood out significantly; “A work of genius or the sickest film in the history of cinema” which was taking it lightly! But anyone who watches a Lars Von Triers film and is expecting it to be a walk in the park has tuned into the wrong channel.

For me, it isn’t the sickest film ever made but there is no denying that the perspective of the film varies greatly from person to person, as it invokes a range of extremes emotions. I looked at Antichrist from an abstract viewpoint, a never-ending rabbit hole into the depths of despair. The female lead ‘She’ (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is destroyed by the grief of losing her baby son and plagued with guilt over the events surrounding his death. Gainsbourg is a perfect fit for this character and brave actress with a unique oddity that excels in such challenging roles. On contrast, her husband ‘He’ (Willem Dafoe) takes a patronising stance which born from his medical background, creates a calm and detached mentality. I welcomed She’s insults towards her husband, as despite her tornado of grief still managed to see through his cynical, one shape fits all versions of the human mind.

Antichrist is a tragic wreck of human emotion and there are no silver linings. The controversial crescendo of violence and mutilation seemed inevitable with so much anger and frustration building up throughout the film. I agree that it is misogynist but so is real life and you can’t fix that by pretending that isn’t so, sometimes it has to slap you in your face, and Antichrist definitely does that.

(Photography Zentropa Entertainments)

Antichrist, 2009 (film), directed by Lars VON TRIES. Germany: Zentropa Entertainments

BROOKS, Xan2009. ‘Antichrist: a work of genius or the sicked film in the history of cinema?'. The Guardian 16 July [online]. Available at [accessed 15th August 2019].


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