Due to the insane and probably misplaced loyalty that I have towards actors that I like, I was dreading the day when I’d actually have to watch Battleship. I never saw the remake of Straw Dogs, so I figure that I must some how owe Alexander Skarsgård one. However, thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I’ll be able to put off watching Rihanna act for another few months at least. Click the jump to get my review of the newly streaming Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Kiefer Sutherland (with some Eric Northman thrown in to the party).
First, fuck the first 9 minutes of this movie, which managed to pack in more slow motion than a Zack Snyder movie. In an effort to trick me into thinking this would be a science fiction film, Melancholia opens with a sequence of strange shots which include Kirsten Dunst’s sad face in front of a background of falling dead birds, a bride running through a forest while being attacked by trees, and a moving planet colliding with Earth. The last bit I mentioned (the one with the colliding planets) is actually, if not a driving plot element, perhaps a nudging one.
After the pretentiously arty opening, the film is divided into two sections named after sisters Justine (Dunst) and Claire (Gainsbourg). The first covers Justine’s wedding reception to new husband, Michael (Skarsgard-yum). Justine is the typical quirky modern movie heroine. She is smart, successful, and rebellious. So rebellious in fact that Dunst doesn’t even bother to attempt a British accent (an accent which the rest of her family, including a father played by the very British John Hurt, has). Despite the perfect wedding, job, and husband, Dunst is subtly miserable as she trudges through the ceremonies like a horse through its paces. Now I bet you’re thinking, well if Alexander Skarsgard would just give that chick an apple orchard, it would make everything better, because what wouldn’t that instantly solve? Well guess what? He does give that bitch an apple orchard and she does not love it.
Did I mention that Justine notices a red star disappear from the sky? No? Well it’s questionably important for the second part of the movie because that star is a planet dubbed Melancholia (raise your eyebrows) and is plummeting towards Earth. The second part of the movie, titled Claire, concerns Earth’s imminent demise. Justine returns to stay with her sister and her husband in a deep and debilitating depression. The second half of the film deals with the two sisters’ methods of dealing with catastrophe and death. Claire spends her time in a desperate panic while Justine remains largely indifferent. However, no matter how the two women spend their last days on Earth, they’re about to be snuffed out Chewbacca style (really, there are worse ways to go if you ask me).
The movie is really more about depression than the end of the world, though the apocalypse makes it more interesting. However, bits of science fiction don’t save Melancholia from being boring. Over two hours of watching Kirsten Dunst and family be both pretty and sad at the same time was just a few notches shy of a sleeping pill. I will stress that the film was gorgeous to look at, particularly the wedding scenes. Unfortunately, Arty McArtArt, which I assume is the director’s name (it isn’t), decided to score the film by blasting the prelude to the opera Tristan und Isolde (oh yeah, I looked that shit up). This didn’t so much as set the mood as firm up my idea that this movie would have served better as a 4 minute long music video. I wouldn’t say that you should avoid this Melancholia at all costs, but I think that if you live to make it to the apocalypse, you’ll be super upset if you had wasted over two hours of your life on this movie. After all, Alexander Skarsgard is only in it for the first 40 minutes or so. My vote: skip it.