Movie Review: “Melancholia” by Nathan Hinds

“Melancholia” is a 2011 release, directed by Lars Von Trier. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Alexander Skarsgard. The film
 was released yesterday on DVD.  

Very beautifully shot, and very surreal, the film takes a look at the effects of severe depression, and the destruction that it causes. On top of all that is going on, a rogue planet named Melancholia, may be on a collision course with the Earth. I’ll say right now, this film IS NOT for the casual movie watcher.

Read more after the jump, and for a second take on this film, you can also check out Andy Schopp’s review here.

I'll start with the parts that I liked. The film looked absolutely amazing, and I'm not even talking about all of the dream-sequence shots at the beginning. That was all good, but the real locations are what really stood out to me. There was something about the location of were they were shooting and the lighting used that really stood out to me - the scenes at night were some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. I would love to have stills of that place.

It's hard to describe how I felt about the characters. Everyone did a great job, it's just hard for me to imagine all of those characters gathering for a party. You have all of the characters who actually spoke in the film, and everyone of them had issues; but then there are all those people in the background that are just there having a good time. They are oblivious to all the stuff that is going on with the main characters. I don't know, I just kept thinking 'how are all these people even acquainted?'.

The problem with this film is that the watchability is so low. Despite looking beautiful, its main characters are so difficult to watch. The theme of the movie is obviously depression. The problem is that I am not very sympathetic towards people with depression, mainly their habit of blaming all of their actions on their depression. That was always going to keep me from any sort of connection to the characters or plot. With Dunst’s character specifically, I refuse to chalk up all of her issues to depression. I'm sure she is really depressed, but she is also just a bad person. The fact that she ever got Skarsgard's character, or anyone to marry her for that matter, is hard to believe. And I refuse to believe that her depression made her screw a random guy she met on her wedding night. Basically, I didn't dislike her character, I hated her. But the character I felt the worst for was Kiefer Sutherland's character. The fact that he put up with all of that crap from his sister-in-law, then had to deal with the fact that he was wrong about the world not ending was tough. I felt so bad for him.


I hated that his character committed suicide, and I thought it was a cheap attempt at an emotional moment by Von Trier. If he knows he's going to die, why would he kill himself? I hate that he turned Kiefer's character into a coward. Oh yeah, I don't have any sympathy for people who commit suicide either..

So I guess I'll try and give an overall assessment now. I don’t think the film is flawless, not when the watchability is so low. I think that always has to be a factor in judging a film as a whole. But from a technical standpoint, or even an artistic standpoint, I think it was flawless. I feel like it is a movie that would benefit from being watched multiple times, the problem is that I don’t know that I will ever have a desire to do so.